Winners of the prestigious PharmaTimes Clinical Researcher of the Year competition were announced last night at an awards ceremony in London.

Finalists from 26 pharmaceutical companies and 24 contract research organisations competed head-to-head for the titles of Clinical Trial Administrator, Clinical Research Associate, Project Manager, Team Leader, and Clinical Research Team.

Abi Needham of inVentiv Health Clinical/Novartis was named Clinical Trial Administrator of the Year, while the Clinical Research Associate category was won by Stuart Meredith of PPD. Pete Morley of Novo Nordisk took the Clinical Project Manager award, with Kylie Gyertson of Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust grabbing the Team Leader win. The Clinical Research Team category was won by Roche and Clinical Company of the Year went to inVentiv Health Clinical (formerly PharmaNet/i3).

The PharmaTimes Clinical Recruiter of the Year was also named at the ceremony. This category received 167 nominations from candidates and clients, and was whittled down to seven finalists through a screening and role play process. Sarah Thomas of Quintiles was named the winner.   

Meanwhile, 10 NHS research sites were finalists for the NHS Clinical Research Site category after more than 40 sites entered to compete. The winning site was the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

Sally Osmond, executive vice president and general manager, cardiovascular and endocrinology, clinical development, post approval and strategic services, INC Research, said it was important to foster relationships between the NHs and pharma. “I believe clinical research is still a very important part of UK medical life, so we need to create an environment where it is encouraged. Cutting edge clinical breakthroughs must not be prevented from reaching the UK population by unnecessary rules and outdated processes.”

The NHS Clinical Research Site category was jointly sponsored by the Department of Health’s National Institute for Health Research and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, which shows the importance this relationship has in moving forward for British healthcare, said Dr Louise Wood, deputy director, head of NHS research infrastructure and growth, research and development directorate, Department of Health.

“The Research Site of the Year competition is important because it demonstrates the progress being made by the NHS in initiating and delivering commercial research. The joint sponsorship of the award by the NIHR and ABPI reflects the partnership working between industry and the NHS, which we believe will maximise the opportunities and impact of NIHR investment in research infrastructure, the processes and tools we've co-developed with industry, and the appetite of the NHS to engage in research, which is increasing at pace,” she added.

Sean Morgan-Jones from competition organisers PharmaTimes and chairman of the executive committee commented: “This competition highlights the important relationship between the NHS and pharma in the delivery of clinical trials. While this is an International competition, attracting entries from all over the world, the NHS Research Site of the Year category provides a platform for the NHS to profile their talents and skills in delivering clinical trials, and with the support of the Department of Health’s NIHR and the ABPI, the success of the top ten sites celebrated this evening waves a flag for the whole NHS and the UK as a great place to do research.”

Key themes explored in the 2013 competition include ICH/GCP, delivering improved operational efficiency while not compromising quality or patient safety, and competency-based case studies designed to test specific job roles.     

Jonathan Jenkins, chief operating officer at Barrington James, said the PharmaTimes competition has a vital role to play for the industry and is a fantastic opportunity to recognise and applaud some of the best performers in the field. “At a time when there is an ever greater pressure on training budgets, involvement in this prestigious competition not only allows the participants to hone their skills in a highly competitive environment, it also allows them to benchmark themselves against their peers, as well as gaining valuable feedback from the experienced panel of judges, which will allow them to go from strength the strength in the future as their career develops.”  

Mark Cooper, vice president, strategic resourcing, inVentiv Health Clinical, said the competition encouraged the continued pursuit of excellence: “The PharmaTimes competition represents an opportunity for companies like inVentiv Health Clinical to recognise and encourage talented individuals and teams, to discuss relevant topics in clinical research, share best practices, and discuss solutions to current challenges. It gives the entire industry a platform to showcase industry talent and celebrate great performance.”

PharmaTimes Clinical Researcher of the Year competition was created in 1999 as 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 high-level industry leaders. All entrants receives mentoring and feedback on their performance.

For a full list of winners visit: Photographs will be available online on Monday:

To register for the 2013/14 event, please visit our dedicated page here

PharmaTimes would like to thank all those organisations that have supported the event this year: NIHR, ABPI, Parexel International, CTC Clinical Trial Consulting AG, inVentiv Health Clinical, Barrington James, INC Research, Stiefel, a GSK Company, and small planet.