Pictured: CRITERIA graduates attending the 2018 ARCS Conference.
Australia has a strong and flourishing clinical trials environment, which makes it an attractive destination to conduct trials. In 2018, to further enhance Australia's capabilities in this field, ARCS Australia developed the Clinical Research Industry's Talent Expansion, Retention, Investment and Advancement (CRITERIA) training program to help PhD graduates transition to employment in the clinical research setting.
ARCS Australia launched its program in the second round of the MTPConnect Project Fund Program in 2018 and found the support of key collaborators in research and industry, including, Clinical Network Services, PPD Australia, Seerpharma, IQVIA, Sydney Partnership for Education, Research and Enterprise (SPHERE), Monash University, St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, Novotech, University of NSW, OnQ Recruitment, University of Sydney, Pharma to Market and University of Queensland.
In the first phase, 52 candidates were selected from across Australia, based on their CV, expression of interest and aptitude. The successful candidates then undertook an ARCS administered three-month training program in all aspects of pharmaceutical medicine and clinical research, as well as mentorship to develop their interpersonal skills and job-readiness for clinical research roles.
Speaking on the MTPConnect Podcast, ARCS Australia CEO Dr Shanny Dyer explained the impact of the CRITERIA program in giving opportunities to PhD graduates entering the workforce.
“We’re really pleased to work with MTPConnect on this really important project that looks at building the Australian workforce in clinical research,” Dr Dyer added.
“The program was designed to take PhD and post graduates, who have done our training and mentoring, to secure roles for them in clinical research and we think what the program has achieved is a terrific outcome.
“I have spoken to all the students and they are absolutely thrilled to have got into the program and there is now a waiting list to get into the next round of the program.
“This is a national program and we are happy to work with anyone who wants to better the sector.”
IQVIA Associate Director, Site Management Kate Pascall said she is proud to be a collaborator on the CRITERIA program.
“Graduates of the CRITERIA program are more likely to be selected for interview for entry-level roles within our organisation than those that have not completed CRITERIA,” Ms Pascall explained.
“The graduates are in a better position to secure a role as they have good basic understanding of the industry that they can draw on during the selection process.”
Candidates who completed the initial training program (see figure 1 below) were then interviewed for various clinical research placements by stakeholders in the clinical research sector, including clinical research organisations, pharmaceutical companies and medical research institutions, where they continued to gain further hands-on experience and training in clinical research.
At the end of the initial training program, over 75-per-cent of graduates had gained full-time employment within the Australian clinical research industry.