Robert, contract manager
I am a contract manager. I support outsourcing for clinical trials. When we do not have the expertise or capacity to perform certain services, I am responsible for finding, contracting and managing relationships with suitable suppliers.
This is very variable. My days are split between meeting with customers, who manage clinical trials, meeting with suppliers and working on contracts. I am also involved in a number of initiatives to improve the way that we work for example I am currently working on an IT system to better manage contracts.
As part of a team. As part of my role I need to interface with many different internal and external functions for example legal, finance, quality, study management, senior management, procurement, supplier business development and supplier contracts groups.
Ten months, but I have been working in clinical outsourcing for four years.
A BSc from Southampton University in Physiology followed by a PhD from Imperial College London in Neurophysiology. I have A levels in Chemistry, Biology and Maths.
While working as a laboratory scientist for a university, I decided that I wanted to continue working in science but wanted a job that was more varied, challenging and involved more working with people. The pharmaceutical industry was and still is a perfect fit for me.
After finishing my PhD, I worked for as a laboratory scientist for a university for a year. During this time I decided that I wanted to continue working in science but wanted a job that was more varied, challenging and involved more working with people.
I found, and successfully applied for, a one day per week internship in my university technology transfer office. Whilst doing this I was encouraged to apply for a one year full time program run jointly by the technology transfer company and a pharmaceutical company. This internship gave me the skills to move from a scientific role into a business focussed one. At the end of the year I was offered a job at the pharmaceutical company. I stayed there for two and half years before moving into my current role at another company.
A science degree is normally needed, but I think that hands on experience is more valuable. For certain roles (not mine) a PhD can be useful.
Pretty good. We regularly go for lunch together and occasionally organise social events. In the course of my role I have the opportunity to meet and talk to a wide range of people.
Getting my first job in the pharmaceutical industry, it is a tough transition to make from being a scientist to working in a business role.
A huge number. Within a pharmaceutical company there are hundreds of different possible roles.
Communication is the key one. But also you need to have skills in prioritising/time management, I work across large number of projects and have to balance their demands. And finally attention to detail.
Getting some hands on experience is very valuable.