- Global Pharma News & Resources

Candidate Profile: Paul Collins

Candidate Profile: Paul Collins


Candidate Profile: Paul Collins Current Job Title: Clinical Project Manager II Department: Clinical Commenced with ICON: July 1997
Last Updated: 27-Aug-2010

Candidate Profile: Paul Collins

Current Job Title:  Clinical Project Manager II

Department: Clinical

Commenced with ICON: July 1997

Paul Collins is a Clinical Project Manager II at ICON and has worked for them since July 1997.  Paul explains the reasons for the longevity of his career at ICON and why he enjoys the working environment so much he has stayed there for nine years.  Paul answers our questions and describes his step by step journey to the top of the career ladder, recounting the support and development he received at every rung.

1. Can you summarise your career history with ICON?

I started with ICON as a student during my industrial placement year where I spent time as a Clinical QC Auditor learning about the clinical trial process and the role of the CRA.

ICON offered me the opportunity to join the company on completion of my degree if I attained the relevant classification.

After receiving a 2:1in Physiology and Pharmacology, I returned to ICON where I trained as a CRA. I subsequently spent 3 years in this role, monitoring in various indications (depression and anxiety, migraine, type II diabetes and chrohn’s disease) and in several different countries ( – GP and hospital – and ).

I was then given additional responsibilities following a promotion to Senior CRA whilst continuing to monitor. These additional duties included project managing other CRAs for study status and reviewing reports as well as taking on the role of mentor.  

Following my promotion to Associate Project Manager, my monitoring days diminished and my line and project management responsibilities began. This gave me a good opportunity to manage a smaller study and undertake some line management before moving onto a Clinical Project Manager role.

When I did progress to Clinical Project Manager I had a good understanding of the role and an excellent support system to help me advance and gain further experience.  More recently, my career has progressed even further and I am now a Clinical Project Manager II, which gave me an excellent opportunity to specialise in the field of oncology.

In this role I am responsible for the project team and the successful delivery of the study.  Managing the training and development of the team is important to ensure they are challenged and have the necessary tools to do their job.  I have to make sure the timelines and quality of the study are maintained at all times and that it keeps within budget. I have daily contact with the team and our clients to guarantee that we continue to meet the study requirements, so the role can be pretty challenging at times but the team environment and the client contact makes the role more enjoyable.  

Managing the team gives the job some real satisfaction, especially to see CRA’s develop into experienced staff who then develop and move on through the career ladder as I have.

My role has variety, development, is challenging and fun, which is certainly what I signed up for. The exposure in other areas such as Business Development has been an important part of my training.  I may assist with proposals or attend Bid Defence meetings which is good experience and allows you to see the process from start to finish.

2. Why have you decided to continue your career with ICON?

As you can see, I have been able to progress with my career in the direction that I wanted it to go and have been promoted consistently, based on my performance. All my roles at ICON have challenged me and helped me grow and become a successful and knowledgeable CRA and Project Manager. Whenever I have needed it, ICON has provided me with a new challenge at the right time with good training and mentorship to ensure I have developed throughout my career. And finally, but not forgetting, I have made lots of good friends here and I truly enjoy coming to work.

3. Why did you decide to be a Project Manager?

Although I fell into clinical research more by chance as an undergraduate, once in a career in clinical research I have always felt that Project Management would be my goal. The role is continually challenging and allows me to use my organisational and interpersonal skills.

4. What makes ICON a good place to work?

That’s easy, it’s definitely the people.

5. What’s the work like?

The work is challenging and enjoyable. I spend my time managing the team, reviewing documents and liaising with the client and other colleagues from around the world in order to resolve problems, deal with queries and plan for the future of the project. 

6. Are the career prospects good?

Yes – ICON has a history of recognising and developing their staff and ensuring they are managed and developed sufficiently to prosper and succeed in any role.  We have our own Training department where a wide range of training is available to all staff. There is a lot of focus in developing, training and retaining staff at ICON.

7. Tell me about the work/life balance culture in ICON and how it benefits you?

ICON’s Flexible Working Policy allows staff to manage their work and life as flexibly as is possible in the service industry. There is a wide range of options that allows our employee’s to do that i.e. they can change their start and finish times regularly to suit their needs, work from home and request job share and part-time working.  ICON promotes the work/life balance well and we all enjoy working in that environment.  I think this attitude is healthy for ICON employees and it certainly shows.

8. What relevant training and development have you undertaken with ICON?

As well as “on the job” training I received a structured training plan at each level of my career. This has included systems training (ICON specific), clinical research training as well as project management and soft skills training. Most of this has been through our own internal training department and interdepartmental training. However, there has also been opportunity for me to attend attended several external courses and ICR seminars.

9. Describe the working culture?

Professional, quality driven, fun and friendly! As a service provider we work hard and have a professional approach. We have to be competitive and meet our client’s expectations.  At the same time the department is a relaxed and friendly place that people enjoy working in. There is a good team spirit, which means we support each other. I have many good friends here and am still in touch with people who have worked here over the years.  When we recruit employees we work hard to ensure we maintain that culture.