The prestigious PharmaTimes INTCR competition has amassed a strong following since its introduction over two decades ago, with many of the fantastic finalists eager to show their support.

We caught up with Shannon Ward of PPD in particular to discuss her experiences with the 2019 and 2020 competitions, of which Shannon claimed first prize in both of her chosen categories. Speaking firstly on the 2019 competition, she praised the finals day by saying “The finals day allowed opportunity for networking, and coming together with colleagues in a setting that I had never experienced before. The challenge itself was tough, but I enjoyed pushing myself to create the presentation”

Shannon went on to claim first prize in the Aspiring Clinical Associate category with her fantastic efforts on finals day. Using the experience and feedback gained from the 2019 competition, Shannon was able to take the next step in the 2020 competition by entering into the Clinical Research Associate category; which is one of the most hotly-contested categories with hundreds entering from across the globe. She praised that the “experience contributed to how I presented myself as a CRA moving forward”.

Due to the pandemic, PharmaTimes had to re-work their tried and tested formula of a face-to-face finals day, to a more virtual experience for the 2020 competition. Despite the slight change of direction, PharmaTimes and the executive steering group were able to deliver once again a smooth and hard-fought day. Shannon added, “The way it was managed was seamless, and in some ways, the challenges were more fun. I really enjoyed delivering my presentation on good communication to the judges”.

It is currently to be confirmed if the finals days for 2021 will follow the more traditional route of offering face-to-face challenges and assessment, or if they will continue the successes of last year and be conducted virtually.

The 2020 competition ended with Shannon earning a back-to-back victory by winning gold in the Clinical Research Associate category, outlining her key skills and contributions to the industry, but also highlighting the positive direction that earning a coveted pharma can lead to.

Shannon continued, “Winning gold again was a massive shock to be honest, I have met and worked aside a lot of the colleagues I was up against and they are all fantastic CRAs, all deserving of that prestigious gold award. I can once again thank the PharmaTimes team for delivering an excellent experience”.

Every finalist and winner in this competition can hold their heads high as they are recognised as being amongst the best of the best within their field. PharmaTimes are now welcoming entries into the 2021 competition so take the step up and find your prime opportunity to shine.

More information on the categories, how it works, and also how to start the entry process can be found on the website –