The Clinical Trials Trainee Scheme was piloted with the NCRI Head & Neck CSG in 2013 and due to the success of this initiative, it was launched across all CSGs.  In November 2014, we received 250 applications from across the UK from junior clinicians competing to be accepted onto our bespoke training scheme with our Clinical Studies Groups (CSGs). The purpose of the scheme was to offer budding clinicians the opportunity to experience the inner workings of national clinical studies groups in a field of their interest.

The applications were carefully considered by CSG Chairs and 32 people were accepted to work across 16 CSGs from various disciplines such as surgery, medical oncology and clinical oncology.

The first round of the trainee scheme completed this summer and we were very keen to hear about how the trainees got on. All trainees were offered the opportunity to complete a survey to provide feedback on the strengths of the scheme and highlight areas for improvement.

Overall, the survey showed that the key strengths of the scheme included the opportunity to network with senior researchers and to gain first hand exposure of the mechanisms of a CSG.

Dr Matthew Ahearne, Lymphoma CSG trainee, was one individual who highlighted this as a benefit and said the scheme was: “An excellent opportunity which has provided a springboard for my clinical training/career.” He continued: “I have since established collaborative research projects, submitted grant applications and been heavily involved with a T-cell lymphoma working group.”

Key areas highlighted by the trainees for improvement included mentorship, being involved in a tangible project and being attached to a Subgroup of a CSG. These suggestions will be implemented for the next round of trainees in autumn 2016

Overall, the trainee scheme was very successful and we look forward to implementing the suggestions made for the next round of trainees who we will be welcoming in autumn 2016.

Learn more about the NCRI Early Career Researcher Forum