The Importance of Clinical Research Training: Advancing Healthcare

December 13, 2023
By Ted Marriott

Now, more than ever, is a very exciting time to work in the area of clinical research, with incredible advances in cancer research, artificial intelligence1 (AI), drug development and radiotherapy2 happening every day. We can make great progress in healthcare through clinical research, but this can only be made possible with a talented and capable workforce of clinical trial professionals in the UK and around the world.

This is why clinical research education and training is of the utmost importance for our industry, and why CGX is dedicated to nurturing and training the generation of researchers we need.


  1. What are the challenges in clinical research?
  2. The impact of clinical research on advancing healthcare
  3. The crucial role of quality training in clinical research
  4. How do we train the next generation?
  5. Conclusion

What are the challenges in clinical research?

Did you know that, on average, it takes 10–15 years3 to test and approve a new drug before it can even be licensed? Do you also know how many clinical drug developments, unfortunately, fail every year? 90 percent!4 There’s no denying that clinical research takes years of work, with a myriad of obstacles along the way – from funding and investment to time constraints and even supply chain issues that mean researchers don’t have all the test tubes, pipettes and equipment they need!

It’s a time-consuming and costly endeavour that often requires coordination across the world in both a scientific and commercial capacity if it is to successfully complete the three necessary phases of clinical trials.5 Think beyond the big numbers involved and look at all the steps along the way that can make a trial unsuccessful – flaws in the ethical design of a clinical trial, ineffective data capturing and management, miscommunication and language barriers. It’s easy to see why there are so many hurdles to cross.

More than that, the UK finds itself in a unique position, with its biggest decline in clinical research trials in five years.6

However, there is still a lot to be hopeful for and excited about. In 2022, the UK government released a policy paper7 for its clinical research implementation and delivery plan until 2025. In May 2023, they also announced a £121 million funding commitment8 to speed up clinical trials.

The impact of clinical research in advancing healthcare

Since the global spread of Covid-19 in 2020, we have lived through unprecedented times of change, scientific research and healthcare implementation. The last three years have shown us the significance of clinical research in healthcare advancements like never before, with the successful clinical trialling and rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine.  

Clinical trials for Covid-19 haven’t stopped there either. Take, for example, the PRINCIPLE trial9 from the University of Oxford, which explored potential treatments for Covid-19 from home. Or the (American) National Institutes of Health trials10 for long-Covid treatment.  

Whilst many clinical trials were on pause for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic, breakthroughs in cancer research still took place11, such as the STAMPEDE trial12 exploring drug efficacy in metastatic prostate cancer.. People in the UK are living longer lives, and we want to secure the happiest and healthiest life for everyone. That is possible with personalised healthcare, improved immunotherapy, MRI scanning technology and so much more, but only if there are clinical trials professionals there to deliver them.

The crucial role of quality training in clinical research

There are hundreds of steps to get potential treatments and therapeutics from the lab and into patients, and they require talented Clinical Trials Administrators (CTA), Research Associates (CRA) and Project Managers (CPM). The problem is, often, there is no standardised training for these roles. Most people aiming to break into the industry don't even know how to acquire the necessary skills for clinical research development or how to propel their careers forward.

A degree in life sciences or a theoretical understanding of clinical trials isn’t enough for many practitioners and aspiring researchers. Understanding day-to-day activities and how to navigate a fast-paced environment is key. How do you manage the finances and budget of a trial to make it cost efficient and ensure its longevity? How do you appropriately select participants for trials? Archive documents accordingly? Meets the necessary scientific standards?

All of these may be things researchers learn with experience. However, when mistakes happen – missing deadlines, inputting data inaccurately, incorrectly storing patient data, failing to mitigate against biases – they can add up and become a large contributing factor to the failure of clinical trials, outside of influences from funders or investors.

Whether newly employed CTAs or highly experienced CPMs are working on a trial, everyone involved needs the knowledge and confidence to perform their role. So, how do we make sure they have both in abundance?

How do we train the next generation?

CGX’s Founder and Managing Director, Lia Hunter, created CGX to ensure all clinical trials professionals, no matter the stage of their career – from graduates and career-changers to career-progressors and corporate professionals –are given the tools to do their job to the highest quality.

Giving every clinical trial professional practical, hands-on experience and mentorship from experts is exactly what’s required to ensure we can make the advancements in healthcare we need.

As Lia puts it: “[At CGX] we don’t just show presentation slides; we want our delegates to be doers. We expect them to participate and be fully involved in workshops, work through scenarios and come up with their own solutions and considerations. That practical, hands-on approach is really important for what we do.”

With so much crucial training and skills being developed on the job, it’s imperative that researchers are given the time and space to practise and plug the gaps in their knowledge before they make it to the lab. It could save clinical trials time, money and resources, which means we’re always getting one step closer to delivering the next breakthrough treatment.


In the world of clinical research, there is always more to discover, and every clinical trial faces its own challenges along the way. But as the Covid-19 trials have shown us, clinical research can and does have a profound impact on advancing healthcare. We need to meet these challenges head on, with a talented workforce behind us.

If you’re looking to find out how you can improve your practice as a clinical trials professional, you want to find out how you can break into the industry, or you’re looking to improve and train your staff, CGX is here to help.

With our courses and consultancy service, Clinnovate, we can equip you with what you need to make your trials a success. Want to find out more? Don’t hesitate to contact us today.

1 AI is dreaming up drugs that no one has ever seen. Now we've got to see if they work. Available at:
Scientists hope radiotherapy breakthroughs will transform cancer treatment. Available at:
How long a new drug takes to go through clinical trials.
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Why 90% of clinical drug development fails and how to improve it?
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Phases of a clinical trial.
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UK sees steep fall in new clinical trials over the past five years.
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The future of clinical research delivery: 2022 to 2025 implementation plan.
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What we’re doing to speed up clinical trials. Available at:
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NIH Launches Clinical Trials for Long Covid Treatments.
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12 Cancer breakthroughs of 2021.
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