Cultivating leadership and mastery skills for senior Clinical Research Coordinators

Over three weeks in August 2022, 17 senior Clinical Research Coordinators (CRCs) and CRC managers successfully completed the inaugural CRC Level 3 Programme organised by the SCRI Academy.

This programme is the most advanced course senior CRCs can attend to hone both technical and management skills. It is tailored for senior CRCs to help them master the key operational, leadership and technical elements related to clinical research operations, and hone soft skills essential for them to mentor and lead a CRC team effectively.

To craft a curriculum suited to senior CRCs’ needs, the SCRI Academy collaborated with members of the National CRC Initiative Technical Committee which comprises representatives from the public healthcare clusters, regulatory authorities and pharmaceutical MNCs.

The committee provided valuable input to identify training needs and gaps. For example, new areas covered in the course include leadership and coaching skills and advanced stakeholder management skills. These are essential as senior CRCs become leaders and mentor their juniors.

One attendee commented: “I am glad that the course covered the key skills, knowledge and techniques to help us overcome challenging situations, especially with stakeholders. I learnt the importance to adopt an approach that is inclusive and builds rapport with the stakeholders I work with,” said one participant.

On the technical front, attendees also levelled-up in skills such as applying a quality system in clinical research, managing departmental resources, developing risk management plans, and drafting corrective and preventive plans. A Biostatistics module was also included in the curriculum as a good biostatistics foundation can help CRCs in setting up the study design, protocol development, data management, monitoring and clinical trial reporting.

In addition to its in-house trainers, SCRI Academy also invited guest speakers from the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), current CRC Managers and Directors, professional leadership coaches and a seasoned biostatistician to share their perspectives and insights with the course attendees.

For instance, the guest speakers shared their experiences on how to resolve non-compliances which do not adhere to Good Clinical Practices (GCP) guidelines, as well as how to apply the various statistical methods and concepts commonly used in a clinical trial. This was reinforced through the application of case scenarios, group activities and insightful discussions.

Two of the guest speakers included Ms Ong Siok Luan, Assistant Director of Clinical Trials and Research Unit from Changi General Hospital, and A/Prof Mihir Gandhi, Head of Biostatistics at SCRI. 

Ms Ong held a lively dialogue with the attendees where she shared her experiences, tips on how to lead and motivate CRCs, and insights into how to thrive in their careers.

Experiential sharing by Ms Ong Siok Luan who has over 20 years of experience in clinical research. She shared many valuable insights into her career journey and how she had overcome challenges while managing a team of CRCs.

A/Prof Gandhi shared the fundamentals of biostatistics and highlighted the common errors and biases that may occur during a clinical study. He also emphasised the role of biostatistics in ensuring data quality.

“Understanding the scientific rationale behind the study design, data collection, procedures and how these may impact the analysis results is essential. A strong grasp of biostatistics will equip clinical research coordinators to contribute to achieving unbiased and robust study findings,” said A/Prof Gandhi.

The participants shared their answers for the group activities during one of the programme modules.

The CRC Level 3 Programme is designed for CRCs with more than five years of experience in coordinating clinical research studies and managing a study independently.

“[The course was] very interesting and useful, and very applicable to our role as seniors. I’ve learnt a lot from the leadership session, very beneficial,” one participant commented.

“I learnt a lot from everyone’s sharing, both the trainers and participants. Really enjoyed the course,” another participant added.

Virtual Graduation for CRC Level 3 Programme (August 2022 intake).

Congratulations to our first batch of graduates for the CRC Level 3 Programme!

Click here to find out more about the CRC Level 3 Programme and stay tuned for news of the next intake.

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