A Trans Network Collaborative Training Initiative


Session type:

Heather Phillips1, Julia Simister2, Charlotte Mahuma3, Alison Allen4, Emma Saunders5, Carrie Weller6, Gillian Ellis7
1Mount Vernon Cancer Research Network, Pan London & SE Region, UK, 2Surrey, West Sussex and Hampshire Cancer Research Network, Pan London & SE Region, UK, 3Essex and Hertfordshire Comprehensive Local Research Network, Essex and Hertfordshire, UK, 4Essex and Hertfordshire Comprehensive Local Research Network, Essex and Hertfordshire, UK, 5South London Comprehensive Local Clinical Research Network, South London, UK, 6The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK, 7NCRN Pan London and South East Regional Workforce Development Group, Pan London & SE Region, UK


New clinical researchers need to learn, and know how to apply, a vast amount of information in the early stages of their careers, to be safe and effective in their roles. Recognising this, the NIHR CRN authors designed a competency-based course curriculum that combines a series of knowledge delivery workshops with a mentoring scheme.


The course runs over 6 or 12 months and is divided into five modules:

Module 1 - Drug development & phases of trials; research infrastructure

Module 2 - Regulatory framework & data quality; caseload management

Module 3 - Data-management & pharmacovigilance

Module 4 - Informed consent, communicating about trials and Patient and Public Involvement

Module 5 - Working with industry & research funding

Experienced trainers from within the research networks take responsibility for organising the training events and delivering the learning objectives. The workshops provide a mixture of presentations combined with interactive group-work activities, giving the participants opportunities to ask questions and share experiences.

Course participants are also paired up with an experienced mentor, who supports them to put their learning into practice and to develop the skills and competencies needed for their role. Assessment is based on a presentation, assignment and mentor feedback.


To date, a total of 97 learners comprising 55 Research Nurses & clinical staff and 42 administrative and other support staff have participated in the course across six programmes delivered in the London and South East region with more planned for 2013. Pre & post module questionnaires have demonstrated important improvements in understanding and confidence. Mentor feedback has confirmed attainment of the appropriate skills and competencies. Further follow-up questionnaire data will be available in the autumn.


This course is an effective way of developing a workforce that will maintain the safety and wellbeing of patients in clinical trials and deliver high quality data.