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How to get a job in clinical research

Need some guidance on how to get a job in clinical research?

Clinical research is a dynamic and rewarding field that transcends borders, offering professionals worldwide the chance to contribute to medical advancements and improve patient outcomes.

If you're considering a career in clinical research and want to explore global opportunities, follow this comprehensive guide to help you embark on a fulfilling journey focusing on opportunities in Europe and the UK.

Step 1: Lay the educational foundation

Your journey into global clinical research begins with a strong educational background. 

Most positions in the field require at least a bachelor's degree in life sciences or a relevant discipline such as biology, pharmacology, nursing, pharmacy, or a related field. To excel and access advanced roles, consider pursuing a Master's or Ph.D. degree.

Step 2: Gain practical experience

Hands-on experience is invaluable in clinical research. As a global leader in clinical research, IQVIA could be your gateway to exciting international roles in this thriving industry.

If you’re new to the field, start by seeking internships, volunteer roles, or entry-level clinical research assistant positions within clinical settings, pharmaceutical companies, research institutions, or hospitals across Europe and the UK. 

This real-world exposure will equip you with the skills and insights necessary for a successful career.

Step 3: Explore diverse roles

Explore common job titles in the field to understand what’s out there and where your strengths lie.

Global clinical research offers various roles, from clinical research coordinator to data manager, clinical research associate, and principal investigator.

Explore various positions to identify the one that aligns with your interests and career aspirations. Starting as a clinical research coordinator can provide an excellent entry point with opportunities for career progression.

Step 4: Develop essential skills

Success in clinical research demands a diverse skill set, including:

● Attention to detail: Precise data collection and analysis are essential for accurate results.

● Effective communication: Strong interpersonal skills are crucial for collaboration with international teams, patients, and sponsors.

● Ethical conduct: Upholding ethical standards ensures patient safety and data integrity.

● Data management: Proficiency in data collection, analysis, and management tools is essential in trials and research.

● Regulatory knowledge: Familiarise yourself with global and country-specific regulations governing clinical research, such as Good Clinical Practice (GCP), an internationally recognized set of ethical and scientific quality requirements for conducting clinical trials.

Step 5: Build a global network

Establishing a professional network is key to your global clinical research career. Attend international conferences, seminars, and workshops to meet industry experts, connect with fellow professionals, and stay updated on global developments.

Consider joining organizations like the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or the Institute of Clinical Research (ICR) for access to valuable resources and networking opportunities.

Step 6: Stay informed on global trends

The clinical research landscape is continually evolving worldwide. Stay informed about emerging technologies, innovative methodologies, and global regulatory updates by reading industry publications, participating in international webinars, and engaging in ongoing education programs.

Remaining well-informed positions you as a valuable asset in the global clinical research field.

Step 7: Prepare for international interviews

When applying for clinical research positions globally, prepare for interviews that may include questions about your international experience, ethical considerations, problem-solving abilities, and knowledge of global regulatory requirements.

Showcase your relevant skills and experiences to demonstrate your suitability for the role.

If you’re based in a country different from the role you’re applying for and have been invited to an online interview, prepare just as you would for an in-person interview.

Here are some bitesize tips to help you ace a video interview:

● Tech check: Download needed apps/software for smooth video interviews. To mitigate technology disruptions, provide your recruiter a back-up phone number in advance

● Know-how: Research the organization beforehand and have your resume ready. For example, if you’re interviewing at IQVIA, go beyond the ”about us” page, follow us on social media to get a sense of life at IQVIA, or read our blogs for valuable insights.

● Question ready: Prepare for common questions and have your own ready.

● Distraction-free zone: Find good lighting, silence your phone, declutter your background, and have water handy.

● Dress the part: Dress as you would for an in-person interview.

● Early bird: Log in 5 mins early to ensure everything's set.

● Confidence is key: Smile, stay centered, and maintain focus during the interview.

● Manage interruptions: If disrupted, ask for a moment, put yourself on mute, and resolve.

Step 8: Discover global opportunities with IQVIA

At IQVIA, we offer exciting international opportunities for professionals like you. With a presence in over 100 countries, we provide a platform to work on groundbreaking studies, collaborate with esteemed researchers, and drive innovations in healthcare on a global scale.

Explore the diverse global clinical research jobs available with us today. Whether you are based in Europe, the UK, or anywhere in the world, IQVIA offers a gateway to a fulfilling international career in clinical research.

Join the IQVIA team and be part of a global community dedicated to advancing medical science and improving patient care.




Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifications do you need to be a clinical researcher?

A minimum educational requirement to be a clinical researcher is usually a bachelor's degree in a relevant field such as life sciences, medicine, or nursing. 

Many clinical researchers pursue advanced degrees (master's or PhD) for specialized roles. Additionally, gaining experience through internships or entry-level positions in research is valuable.

How do I move into clinical research?

Transitioning into clinical research involves acquiring relevant qualifications and experience. 

Consider pursuing a degree in a related field, gaining practical experience through internships or entry-level positions, and networking within the clinical research community. Building a strong understanding of research methodologies is key.

Is clinical research in demand?

Yes, clinical research is in demand, particularly as advancements in healthcare and medical treatments continue. 

The pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries and academic and healthcare institutions actively seek skilled clinical researchers. The demand is driven by the need for evidence-based practices and the development of new medical interventions.

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