‘Managing large scale international clinical trials’

Managing clinical trials, of whatever size and complexity, requires efficient trial management. Trials fail because tried and tested systems handed down through apprenticeships have not been documented, evaluated or published to guide new trialists starting out in this important field. For the past three decades trialists have invented and re-invented the trial management wheel.

Trial/project management is essential amongst the key competencies that are needed to deliver high quality trials. It is recognised that well designed trials are the basis for addressing important clinical questions but science alone will not be sufficient to successfully deliver a trial. Once the science is determined and the trial accepted through the peer review process the challenge is quite different, the key challenge is then to establish and implement management systems and strategies that are effective and responsive to the needs of the trial and the trialist. Clinical trials all require the same co-ordinated processes and systems irrespective of the size, scope, cost or duration.
Barbara Farrell is a trial manager with an interest in the efficient conduct of randomised controlled trials and the training and development of trial managers.

Barbara has been running trials since 1980 when she began work as a Trial Manager on two international stroke trials. Over the past 35 years Barbara has managed a number of very large international trials in a variety of disease areas including CLASP, the International Stroke Trial, the Magpie Trial and the CORONIS Trial. Between 1994 and 1997 Barbara was the Trial Director of the Neurosciences Trials Unit in Edinburgh managing a portfolio of trials and a multi-disciplinary team.

She was a Co-founder of the UK Trial Managers’ Network and now is a key player in ensuring the continuation and development of this network. She remains a member of the Editorial Board of the Guide to Efficient Trial Management.

Barbara was a member of the MRC/DH group that developed the Clinical Trials Toolkit. She also teaches on the MSc in Clinical Trials and sits on a number of trial steering committees.