Could a Clinical Project Manager (CPM) position be the role for you?

October 25, 2023
By Ted Marriott

In the dynamic world of healthcare and pharmaceuticals, the pursuit of novel treatments and therapies never ceases. As the industry continues to evolve, so does the demand for professionals who can effectively manage the complex web of clinical trials and research projects. One such pivotal role is that of a Clinical Project Manager (CPM). If you're looking for a career that combines your passion for healthcare with strong organisational and leadership skills, then a CPM position might be the perfect fit for you.


  1. What is a CPM (Clinical Project Manager)?
  2. What does a CPM do and why are they important?
  3. What skills, experience and qualifications do I need to become a CPM?
  4. What salary and career paths can I expect as a CPM?
  5. Conclusion.

What is a CPM (Clinical Project Manager)?

In May 2023, the government announced a £121 million funding commitment to speed up clinical trials that will make it easier to get treatments into patients and ensure the public and patients can take part in more clinical trials. With new developments being made possible every day, now is an incredibly exciting time to work in the clinical trials and pharmaceutical industries.

However, all of this is futile unless clinical trials are safely and effectively managed. This is where the crucial role of a Clinical Project Manager comes in.

As a CPM, you will be responsible for leading, setting up and coordinating clinical trials and managing the teams involved. Your role will be vital for making sure the clinical trial finishes on time, within budget, and that sponsors and stakeholders receive regular updates on its progress.

When the clinical research is complete, you will have overseen the project to ensure data is effectively captured and evaluated, and the trial has met the highest standards that mean it can go into the next stage of development - whether that’s more stages of research or going to markets.

What does a CPM do and why are they important?

A CPM is a challenging but highly rewarding role, where you will need to combine your clinical research experience with managerial skills to get the best possible results out of each clinical trial. Not only that, you’ll be working on a variety of tasks that include:

  • Initiating and managing clinical projects whilst establishing plans and protocols that will determine which tests to perform and how frequently to administer them
  • Ensuring everything is in keeping with scientific standards, relevant guidelines and legislation
  • Monitoring the progress and quality of the clinical trial against KPIs and the project project
  • Selecting and enrolling participants for the trial
  • Identifying risks that could compromise the efficacy and success of the trial and mitigating them
  • Managing projects finances and budgets
  • Ensuring resources are collected and readily available for staff to perform their tasks
  • Use data to establish what to evaluate and how to measure it
  • Mitigate against biases and oversee the ethics of the trial

As a CPM, you’re likely to work in a hospital, lab or university, whilst managing a team of clinical researchers including Clinical Trials Administrators (CTAs) and Clinical Research Associates (CRA) as well as negotiating with research centers and contractors and working closely with external stakeholders.  

Clinical research and trials are a highly regulated and highly expensive endeavor, with a number of factors that will determine their success and if money and resources have been effectively used. This is why CPMs play a hugely important role. How you lead the project will significantly contribute to the best products and outcomes for patients.

What skills, experience and qualifications do I need to become a CPM?

If you hold a BSc degree in Life Sciences, Public Health or another related discpline, you’re in a prime position to enter the pharmaceutical and clinical trials industry. However, a CPM is not an entry-level role and will require some more prerequisite experience before you can qualify for the position. Becoming a Clinical Trials Administrator (CTA) or a Clinical Research Associate (CRA) are the best steps you can take to working towards a CPM role.

If you have previous experience working in clinical trial development at a Contract Research Organisation (CRO), pharmaceutical or another medical environment, in addition to experience as a CRA, Senior Clinical Project Assistant (CPA) or Associate Clinical Project Manager (ACPM), then you’re in a great position to become a CPM.

You will requires areas of knowledge and expertise, as well as hard and soft skills to land your first CPM position and do the best job you can. This includes:

  • Risk management to asses, respond to and mitigate anything that could compromise the trial’s efficacy
  • Leadership and management
  • Presentation skills
  • Data analysis
  • Ethical research design
  • Strong communication skills
  • Adaptability and the confidence to pivot to new changes and procedures
  • Budget management
  • Problem-solving
  • Attention to detail

In a typical day as a CPM, there are so many things you could be doing, from completing paperwork in your office for an ethics submission, attending team meetings with CRAs, feeding back and presenting progress to key stakeholders, working with CTAs to ensure the trial master file is up to date, attending site visits and much more.

What salary and career paths can I expect as a CPM?

As a CPM, you will have the opportunity to progress your career to international project management, where you will oversee trials across participating countries. Furthermore, becoming a CPM is the stepping stone you can take to become a Director of Clinical Research and/or Operations.  

The average CPM salary is £55,028 dependent on a number of factors including the company you work for, your qualifications and experience.


If you’re ready to take the next step in your career and lead groundbreaking research, then a Clinical Project Manager position is the right role for you. Incredible advances are being made every day in clinical research which are leading to better patient outcomes, but that can only be achieved with the talented personnel and workforce. This is where CGX comes in.

Our courses are designed to equip you with the knowledge, skills and experience you need to improve your practice as a clinical researcher and land your next role. We work with career starters to progressers and career changers, so no matter where you are in your journey, we can cater for your learning.

If you’re ready to take the next step, book onto one of our CPM Beginners courses today. Or contact us for advice on how to achieve your career goal, we’re happy to answer any of your questions.

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