Winners of the prestigious PharmaTimes US Clinical Researcher of the Year competition were announced last night at an awards ceremony hosted by competition partners SAS at their global headquarters in North Carolina.

Finalists from 15 companies including AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, INC Research, Parexel, PharmaNet/i3, PPD, PRA International, and Shire competed head-to-head for the titles of Study Nurse of the Year, New CRA of the Year, Experienced CRA of the Year, Project Manager of the Year, Clinical Team of the Year, and overall Clinical Company of the Year.

Laura Falcone of Meridian Clinical Research was named Study Nurse of the Year while the Project Manager category was won by Kathy Goin of    Endo Pharmaceuticals. PRA International took both the New and Experienced CRA awards (Elizabeth Watson and Hillary Denny, respectively) and PRA also took the overall Clinical Company of the Year title. Winner of the Clinical Team of the Year was MSD.

Key themes explored in the 2012 competition included risk-based monitoring and working through virtual teams. Sean Morgan-Jones from competition organisers PharmaTimes and Chairman of the Executive Committee, commented: “What is becoming clear is that traditional models of R&D are failing and the regulatory burden and costs are becoming prohibitive. A central theme for the 2012 competition was around how organisations can strip out cost without compromising patient safety or the quality of the data gathered, but critically also tested technical competence in terms of ICH/GCP and looked at other areas including innovation, leadership and collaboration.”

As Andrew Townshend, vice president, alliance development at sponsors INC Research, noted: “It is a quality programme with top-level representation from across the biopharmaceutical industry, offering participants broad exposure to clinical development experts while cross-checking their skills with their peers. The US Clinical Researcher of the Year competitions enjoy a reputation for a high standard of entry and really showcase the talent of individuals and teams.”

Supported by the Association of Clinical Research Professionals and CenterWatch, and sponsored by business analytics and business intelligence firm SAS, US Clinical Researcher of the Year - created in 2009 - has quickly become established as an important barometer of quality standards for the country’s clinical research fraternity in terms of creating competency benchmarks and generating important insights on key challenges facing researchers in today’s environment.

“SAS congratulates the US Clinical Researcher of the Year competition winners,” said Graham Hughes, MD, chief medical officer for SAS Center for Health Analytics and Insights. “We applaud their efforts to focus on how to more effectively use resources in the current economic and reform environment, and to solve clinical trial challenges, based on real-world scenarios, all without compromising patient safety or data quality.”

Morgan-Jones added: “One thing that is increasingly evident about how research moves forward is that organisations, including governments, regulators, pharma companies, patient groups and insurance companies are going to have to collaborate like never before if the industry is to survive. I think the work of the Executive Steering Committee is a wonderful example of collaboration, where people can get behind the idea of recognising and encouraging great clinical researchers.”

“This is PRA's second year participating in the US Clinical Researcher of the Year competition,” said Susan Romberg, vice president, clinical operations Americas at the company. “We enjoyed our experience so much in 2011, we decided we wanted to play a bigger role in 2012 so we chose to be a corporate sponsor and participate on the executive steering committee. Personally, I find the competition a great forum to showcase unique talents within our industry. In the past I have been a study coordinator, CRA and project manager and would have eagerly jumped at the chance to compete.”

For a full list of finalists, winners and photographs please visit: or for more information, email

The US Clinical Researcher of the Year competition would like to thank all those organisations that have supported the event this year: SAS, ACRP, CenterWatch, PRA International, INC Research, IDIS, Benchmark Research, Stiefel (a GSK company), Chiltern International, PharmaNet/i3 and Small Planet Meetings.