The PharmaTimes International Clinical Researcher of the Year awards –  showcasing the best talent in the industry for 20 years

The winners of the PharmaTimes InternationalClinical Researcher of the Year 2019 competition have been unveiled at a 20th anniversary awards ceremony and gala dinner, hosted by celebrity GP Dr Hilary Jones at The Chelsea Harbour Hotel in London.

The dinner rounded off a fierce competition which saw an incredible increase in entries and passes of more than 50% from 2018, as well as a 37% jump in the number of essays submitted. This year, as many as 800 competitors from more than 40 countries across the globe competed, fighting it out for a Pharma award in each of their respective categories.

Comprising three stages, the competition offers a unique opportunity for professionals working within the research fraternity to benchmark their skills against their peers in a learning environment, and have them judged by an independent executive steering group of high-level industry leaders. The categories are designed to enable clinical researchers at all levels in their career to enter, develop and be rewarded for their efforts.

Carol Parish, chair of the competition’s Executive Steering Group, and vice-chair Paul Quinn addressed the audience before dinner to praise the “long-standing and rigorous competition”, and to applaud the 53 individuals and 17 teams who made it through to the finals.

The night kicked off with the Clinical Trial Administrator category, which was open to any individual currently in a CTA role. The award was won by Marta Jancz from PRA Health Sciences, who said it was a “huge acknowledgement for me as a person, right after an MSc Degree and only working in a CRO for a relatively short period [and] has assured me that all the efforts I make are leading the studies in the right direction.” She also had high praise for the event, saying it was a “great pleasure to attend the Awards Gala in London, where I believe we all felt as elegant as if it was the Oscars, an unforgettable experience.”

Elsewhere, Shannon Ward from PPD was named Aspiring Clinical Research Associate of the Year, a category open to anyone with an ambition to become a CRA, while the Clinical Research Associate of the Year award was won by Hetal Chauhan from MSD.

Next up was the In-House Clinical Research award, designed to test and reward those currently working in the role of In-House CRA or Remote Monitor. This was won by Marilies Wieser from PPD, continuing a night of success for the company.

The penultimate individual category of the night was the Project Manager of the Year award, open to those working for a pharma company or a CRO. Kim Davies from PRA Health Sciences took home the Gold, with Silver going to colleague Krunal Shah, also of PRA. In yet another success for PRA, Jane Thomson took home the Team Leader award, designed to test the capabilities of any individual demonstrating great leadership of a team in a clinical research setting.

New to the PharmaTimes International Clinical Researcher of the Year competition for 2019, the Study & Site Start-Up Award was included to ensure that categories are reflective and aligned to the evolving landscape and to recognise the important role of SSU teams and the skilled individuals within them. The first winners of this Award were Danielle Wilding from PRA, with Jo Ayling from PRA and the Syneos Health Team hot on her heels in Silver and Bronze places, respectively.

Following that, the Clinical Site of the Year went to Krishna Patel and Amy Smith of UCLH, while Silver was taken by Rob Oliver and team from Royal Oldham Hospital, and Bronze by Sonia Kandola’s team from University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire. Mariann Bringsvaerd and her team from PRA won the Clinical Research Team award, closely followed by Lauren Cassidy’s team from PPD and Kirsten Hogarty’s Team, also from PPD.

Finally, rounding off a wonderful evening of awards, networking and celebration, PRA Health Sciences took home the coveted Clinical Research Company of the Year award.

“Both the individuals and teams were fantastic, we’ve seen a lot of talent,” said Alison Messom, of the Institute of Clinical Research and one of the competition judges, reflecting on this year’s event. “The new category was a little bit of an experiment, but it worked out really well and people really enjoyed it. The calibre was so high it gave us a testing job as judges to make our final decision.”

PharmaTimes would like to thank the sponsors for their support, commitment and generosity as well as all the judges and steering group committees for their help and dedication to the competition – and not to forget the finalists and winners for their continued efforts and tenacity