Edward B.

Clinical Scientist, Drug Development
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Edward B.
Research Postgraduate
United Kingdom

My employment

Clinical Scientist, Drug Development
United Kingdom
Science and research
Large business (250+ employees)

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A day in the life of a Clinical Scientist, Drug Development in the United Kingdom

I always wanted to work in pharma, but I knew nothing about medical writing when I graduated (or when I applied for my first job).

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

I work for a Contract Research Organization (CRO). It's a large (88,000 employees) multinational company that helps pharma companies bring their drugs to market. In particular we run clinical trials to test new medicines in humans.

What do you do?

As a clinical scientist I am part of a team that identifies what diseases new drugs could be used to treat, plans how to take a drug from animal studies to regulatory approval, designs clinical studies, and interprets data for regulatory submissions.

My team includes physicians, data scientists, statisticians, pharmacokineoticists, and biomaker scientists.

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

After completing my PhD, I knew I wanted to work in the pharma industry but I didn't really know anything about non-lab based roles. I was lucky enough to get a junior regulatory medical writer position at Covance in Leeds, which provided me with a great introduction to clinical trials.

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?

It's more complicated than I could have imagined, and involves a lot more people than you'd expect.

Describe your most memorable day at work

I am still relatively new in my current role.

At my last job I got to spend a month in India training new colleagues which was a great experience.

Are there any challenges associated with your job?

In a CRO you often work on several studies at once. The exposure to different diseases, drugs, and teams stops the work from getting repetitive, but it does mean you have to juggle a lot of different projects at the same time.

What’s your work environment and culture like?

In my experience CROs and pharma spend a lot of time and energy building their cultures. A lot is expected from staff and hours can be long, but the internal support is really good. Processes for development are well thought through, and there's always someone to go to if you need help

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

As a PhD student I spent a lot of time in the lab, but I also presented at conferences and did some local STEM outreach. Both helped me to develop communication and organization skills which are now important for my job.

What would you like to do next with your career?

My aim is to be the development lead of a new drug, either at a CRO or in a pharma company.

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

Don't panick if you don't know exactly what you want to do. Work out what you are interested in, do some research, and get your foot in the door. Especially in CRO/pharma, once you're in there are lots of opportunities to move to other roles.

What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?

Drug development, science communication, pharma companies,

Next steps...

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