Would you like to know more about what it’s like to have a career as a clinical researcher? Watch this video with Melanie Fleming, a researcher in neurophysiology, to discover what it’s like to work in this area.
Clinical researchers are research scientists who are involved in testing new drugs, medical treatments or techniques with a group of patients to ensure these are effective and safe before they can be introduced to a larger audience.
For example, Melanie Fleming is a research assistant and PhD student at King’s who is working on a project funded by the Stroke Association to test how a type of brain stimulation called transcranial direct current stimulation can be used alongside physiotherapy to improve the rate of recovery of movement after a stroke.
Clinical researchers like Melanie work directly with patients who have volunteered to take part in the trial, combining elements of laboratory-based research with direct patient contact to help develop new treatments that have the potential to improve patients’ lives.
To work as a clinical researcher, you would normally need undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in an area of the health sciences, such as biomedical science, biology, biochemistry, pharmacology, anatomy, physiology, molecular genetics or sport and exercise science.
In terms of personal skills, it is important to be compassionate, understanding and hard-working with strong communication skills, as the role involves working with patients who are often suffering from serious medical conditions.
There are many opportunities for clinical researchers to get involved in large-scale clinical trials run by pharmaceutical companies, which usually involve testing new drugs for effectiveness and security before these are released into the market.
Clinical researchers can also work for academic institutions or charities on patient-focused research projects, as in the case of Melanie’s stroke-based research project, which is funded by the Stroke Association.
If you think you might be interested in working as a clinical researcher, the best advice is to try and get involved. You could start by volunteering to take part in a research study, as there is always research being done that you can get involved with.
This will give you the chance to meet researchers and talk to them about what they do and what they are interested in, which might help you find your own passion and decide what you would like to research yourself.
Find out more