Dr Nuala Murphy, ICON plc, President Clinical Research Services

Can you tell us about the path your career has taken to ICON?

Following the completion of a post-doctoral position in the department of neuropharmacology at the Collège de France in Paris, I joined a late phase, start-up clinical research company called Benefit International. Following this, I was appointed to a senior role at Quintiles (now IQVIA) where I led the clinical and data management functions. In 2012, I joined ICON in the role of Executive Vice president of Clinical and Data Operations and was subsequently promoted to the role of President of Clinical Research Services.

How have you made a significant contribution to your field?

I lead an extensive team of highly talented, international experts in multi- discipline fields that include project management and planning, clinical operations, scientific operations, technology application and site and patient solutions. I believe the work my team and myself do every day in delivering clinical research programmes contributes significant value to clients and also society by accelerating the delivery of treatments to patients. Our work has been recognised with many industry awards for delivering results that exceeded client expectation in patient recruitment which ultimately leads to getting treatments to patients faster.

Which successes are you most proud of?

In the early part of my career, I was proud to co-publish clinical research findings in the conduct of trials in psychiatry in collaboration with a group of eminent clinicians. I am also very proud to be part of an innovative Irish company, headquartered in Dublin. Being born, bred and educated in Dublin, it is a real pleasure to be part of a successful Irish organisation that is making a real impact on a global basis.

What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

The outbreak of COVID-19 has certainly been one of the most interesting challenges of my career. I have been truly impressed with the cross-functional team collaboration at ICON and the response to overcome the multiple challenges of an evolving environment. The team have explored innovative ways to minimise the risks of disruption to clinical trials; from bringing the trial to the patient with our In- Home services to adapting new practices to protect data integrity, they have risen to the challenge. I have also been impressed to see the rapid response of our people in volunteering to support clients on the front line, in driving the acceleration of study start-up for COVID-19 vaccine development.

How do you continue to drive progress – individually and that of your team?I believe in pushing the dial in operational performance for better patient outcomes. If we want to raise the bar in project success we need to have an unwavering passion to deliver the best possible services to clients. I like to challenge the status quo internally and to engage with pharma and biotech clients externally in how we can work together to really transform the industry, not just in the future but in real terms today.