More than 40 top researchers from the world’s leading CROs – including Chiltern, Covance, INC Research, Parexel, PPD, PRA Health Sciences and Quintiles – gathered in North Carolina last week to compete in the prestigious PharmaTimes Clinical Researcher of the Year – The Americas competition.

Hosted by Chiltern International and inVentiv Health Clinical, the finals days tested candidates across five categories – clinical research co-ordinator, new clinical research associate, experienced CRA, project manager and company team, with the winners announced at a glittering awards ceremony on Thursday at the Umstead Hotel in Raleigh.

Andrew Rickelman, PMG Research and Bethany Sink from Thomas A Cuilla were named joint winners of the Clinical Research Co-ordinator Award. Company Team of the Year went to PRA Health Sciences, continuing a spate of success that began at last month’s International Clinical Researcher of the Year, and Otonomy/INC Research was named Strategic Partnership Team of the Year. Brooke Giebel, Shire Pharmaceuticals, went home with the Project Manager prize while Experienced CRA went to Velma Reed of PRA Health Sciences, and the New CRA 2015 was won by Jo-Zahn Baxter, also of PRA Health Sciences.

Celebrating professional excellence

Established in 2009, the PharmaTimes Clinical Researcher of the Year – The Americas competition is organised by an independent executive steering committee drawn from senior industry leaders from big and small pharma, leading CROs and professional membership associations including ACRP and DIA. Finalists went head-to-head during a one-day real-time challenge (devised by clinical directors from top pharma companies) at the global headquarters of competition partners SAS in North Carolina, with the winners revealed at the awards ceremony later that day at the Umstead Hotel.
Mark Lacy, CE, and founder, Benchmark research and chair of the steering committee said: “What an extraordinary honour and pleasure to chair and be the master of ceremonies for this now fifth annual Clinical Researcher of the Year Competition for the Americas. I can honestly say this event has become a highlight of my year. Although I am there to root for my company’s contestants, it is also a joy to judge contestants from companies that are our customers, colleagues, and friends. The mission of this competition, to reward the excellence of the clinical research professionals most vital to the optimal operation of our industry, not only gives me a warm feeling inside but also instils in me a feeling of pride and admiration for all of the wonderful professionals with whom I interact.  I can honestly say that thinking about this event and what it represents makes me smile.”

PharmaTimes executive director Mark Watson added: “The 2015 CROY - The Americas awards once again highlighted the level of excellence and expertise of candidates from a wealth of backgrounds and positions in the clinical space. Thanks to Chiltern and inVentiv, and a great team of judges we were able to host some fantastic competitions and interviews across the day.

“Mixing together some friendly rivalry, networking and fun our panels of judges had some tough calls to make - with one category so close we had to take an unprecedented step of awarding a joint gold award. My sincerest thanks to all those who helped organise, host, judge, and the finalists on the day for making it such a wonderful competition. A special thanks to all our sponsors and last but not least a huge congratulations to all the winners.”

PharmaTimes Competitions would like to thank sponsors Chiltern International, PRA Health Sciences and PMG Research. It is also very grateful to the following companies for their support and commitment in helping facilitate the judging process: ACRP, CenterWatch, DIA, IAOCR and ICON.