Clinical trials manager

Written case study: Alice Guazzelli, Clinical Trials Manager at NDS University of Oxford.

Headshot of Alice Guazzelli

Introduce your research background and previous role(s).

My name is Alice Guazzelli, I obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Molecular Biology and a Master's Degree in Industrial Biotechnology in Italy. I moved to the UK in 2015 to start a PhD in Biological Sciences at the University of Salford, Manchester. The project was mainly focused on cancer therapy for malignant mesothelioma. After the completion of my PhD, I was awarded a 3-year research fellow at the University of Edinburgh to work on chemopreventive agents for colorectal cancer. After my first postdoc experience, I decided to change career and apply for jobs within clinical research.

What does your current role entail, and what are your responsibilities?

I am currently a clinical trial manager at the University of Oxford, working on a randomised controlled trial called SARONG and a 15-year follow-up study called ART.

How did you gain the skills, experience and CV that you needed?

When I decided to explore other carer options, I started searching online for the essential requirements for the job of clinical trial manager.

After reading about the requirements for the job, I tried to understand which research skills were transferable to the clinical trial job. I also contacted trial managers on LinkedIn who had some level of connection with me to ask for advice about the job. I listened to podcasts on topics about clinical research, read papers, found videos online about clinical trials and read guidelines about clinical trial management. After a couple of months, I reviewed and updated my CV, and started submitting job applications.

Being invited to interviews was a great way to learn more about the job. I think I attended two-three interviews before getting a position.  

Looking back would you do anything differently?

 I don’t think I would do anything differently.

What is the main piece of advice that you would give anyone looking to move out of an academic research role?

Contact people in the field to understand if it is the right job for you. Undertake deep research on the job.

The motivation and desire to change careers are important elements for a successful interview. 

Always have a plan B ready in case your first job choice does not work the first time for you (I was applying for Research Scientist jobs in industry while applying for jobs as a Clinical Trial Manager).

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