From academia PhD to clinical research- how do I enter?

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Re: From academia PhD to clinical research- how do I enter?

Postby Diana M. » Fri Sep 05, 2014 1:19 pm

Hi, my name is Diana Meske. I am finishing up my PhD in Medical Pharmacology with a minor in Biostatistics and am actively trying to find a job in clinical research. I minored in Biostatistics in the hopes it would get my foot in the door somewhere…I have had a few interesting leads but nothing definite yet…

Anyway, I stumbled on this forum, which is now a number of years old, so I was hoping you might have some advice now that you are 7 years removed??? Any advice would be extremely appreciated!!


Diana M.
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Re: From academia PhD to clinical research- how do I enter?

Postby Mat R. » Fri May 01, 2015 1:16 pm

This is a few years later - but if any of the people with PhDs thinking about how to get into industry without pharma experience are still here - what was the outcome? Take the CRA position? Did you find a different position?
Mat R.
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Re: From academia PhD to clinical research- how do I enter?

Postby Saranneman » Tue May 12, 2015 7:55 am

Hi Mat,

I've finished my PhD in biomedical sciences about a year ago. I hunted for jobs in medical affairs (especially MSL) in pharma companies, but was unsuccesful due to no industry experience.

So I started looking for jobs in CROs. In the end I got 2 offers from 2 large CROs, one for an in-house CRA (lets you become CRA after a couple of years) and the other as Site identification specialist. I took the last one because it involved contact with doctors which seemed useful to me for aiming at that MSL career.

In a lot of interviews, and also at my current company, I heard it is very very heard to break in as a fresh CRA in a CRO. Why: the pharmaceutical companies need to approve you as a CRA to work on their study, and for that they need to approve your CV (meaning a list of the studies you have previously worked on), and that's ofcourse the difficult part, if you're a fresh starting CRA with no previous experience in clinical trials, they don't approve you, so you can sit there for 2 years without being assigned any studies. So that's why also the large CROs are very careful with hiring fresh PhDs for CRAs...

That said, I am very thankful that my current company at least offered me a chance. I have some colleagues here with a PhD who are in the Regulatory business units. During my interviews, I really got the impression some CROs were absolutely NOT interested in PhDs, while others really give you a chance.

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