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Charlotte Woodward

Clinical Trial Manager

Diabetes Trials Unit

Tell us about your role.

I manage the day-to-day activities of a UK based multi-centre trial, working directly with the Chief Investigator and Sponsor and acting as the key contact for stakeholders and NHS research sites.

My role is primary trial management, but I also have responsibilities across data management, quality assurance, financial and contractual management.

Within this, I contribute to the development and updates to the trial protocol and study materials and facilitate the implementation of amendments. I am also responsible for the set-up, training and supporting of clinical sites performing the research study. I have regular meetings with funders, third parties and trial committees to update them regarding the progress of the trial.

Within my unit, I am also responsible for the development and updating of Trial Management tools, local SOPs, reviewing trial methodology papers for relevance to DTU processes and act as a deputy for the Senior Trial Manager.

How did you get to where you are now? Please describe your career path.

I began my career in research as a research nurse.

I didn’t actually know research nursing existed until I was working clinically on an inpatient ward which was hosting an inpatient placebo-controlled drug trial, where the usual ward nurses could administer the study drug/placebo as part of their routine medication round.

I was inspired to explore research nursing

I spent two years as a research nurse in neurodegenerative diseases and dementia prior to my MSc. I also worked for one year as a clinical educator

After completing my MSc I worked as a research nurse for a university, within sexual health and infectious diseases. During this role, I was able to gain experience in university sponsored trials and with working with clinical trial managers.

I began exploring research roles within academia, which were non-clinical/ non-nursing based roles, so I could also develop trial management skills on a larger scale and from the sponsor side rather than the site level. I had expressed interest in opportunities at DTU and was contacted when a Clinical Trial Manager role was advertised.

I knew I had very relevant experience for a Clinical Trial Manager, but most of my experience was from a site-level. The opportunity within DTU included adjustments and development plans for people apply, so I decided to enquire more about the role.

What is the most meaningful or rewarding aspect of your work?

One aspect I really enjoy about this role, is that you participate in every part of the research process, from grant application through to publication. It’s really rewarding to see how your efforts support the research study at each point.

Are there challenges you would you like others to know about, in your career path or in your current role, and how have you overcome these?

You need to be very organised but prepared for situations to evolve and requirements to change very quickly.

Are there any particular skills or behaviours which have helped you get to your current role?

As a Trial Manager, you need to be able to support a number of different activities and therefore need a huge range of skills. You will draw on every skill you have learnt across all your work experience, not just related to research. All experience is relevant. 

Having both an NHS and a clinical research background has definitely been useful in supporting sites and identifying support needs of clinical sites.