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Case study: Blog: Kirsty Rogers, Education and Training Manager

Kirsty has been working in research for 16 years

Kirsty shares why she is so passionate about research to encourage others to consider a career in the field of research management.

I’ve worked in research for quite a long time. In comparison to my lifespan it’s a third of my life, pretty unbelievable when I think of it like that! I wanted to share with you my journey of how I got here and reasons why I work in research. 

My career in research started in industry within an organisation running global health studies as a Clinical Trial Assistant (CTA). Before that I had worked in global HR but wanted to move into a health related role. Being a CTA allowed me to gain a detailed understanding of trial management and the complexities of clinical trials. I was fortunate to work on a programme of global studies meaning I had exposure to study set up, right through to study close out and developed an understanding of the requirements of global clinical trials. 

Following this, I moved into another role within the same organisation to learn about bid development within clinical trials. I wanted the change because I like to know the wider picture and where my piece of the puzzle fits. I loved working at this organisation but felt I needed to be making a difference to participants more directly with an impact on my local community. 

I was offered a role within Southampton Clinical Trials Unit as a Quality & Regulatory Officer. This job was fantastic! I was supporting predominantly University Hospital Southampton (UHS) sponsored studies who served my immediate community. I had exposure to a huge range of trials, ranging from alcoholic hepatitis studies through to lymphoma and prostate cancer studies and had many responsibilities within my role. These varied from supervising the pharmacovigilance (safety reporting) management for trials to advising on queries in relation to protocol deviations and Good Clinical Practice (GCP) adherence.  

Despite loving this role, ​I still had the desire to work directly with patients and the public. This led me to become a Research Facilitator at Southern Health, a community Trust. In this role, I was not only coordinating research but recruiting participants as well. I have fond memories of some of those whose lives were changed by their participation in research. I found the role a huge learning curve, some experiences took me out of my comfort zone but that helped me reflect on where my skill base was - in the facilitation and management of research. 

For my next role, I became an Assistant Research Manager at NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC), which is a centre managing a number of NIHR funding streams. I found the experience invaluable as it helped me develop an understanding of funding decisions. I even attended a Health Technology Assessment (HTA) board meeting which was enlightening in a way I didn’t expect! Attending this meeting allowed me to see first-hand the decision making processes and input from every board member.

Having this experience under my belt, I wanted to return to an environment where I was working directly with researchers who support patients in research studies everyday. It was then I started working as a Research Facilitator at UHS. 

Day-to-day this role varied greatly. I could be meeting with a Principal Investigator in the morning to discuss a new study and its feasibility, to advising nursing staff about implementing GCP requirements or responding to protocol queries in the afternoon. I saw my role in the Research & Development team as an extension of the direct research delivery team. I worked hard to resolve issues and work alongside the team to ensure effective research delivery. No day was the same and there was always a new challenge! 

Following this, I took up a brand new role as Clinical Trial Project Manager at UHS. This role involved providing sponsor oversight for the studies sponsored by UHS involving Clinical Trial Investigational Medical Products (CTIMPs). I had sponsor oversight of around 43 studies which involved putting all the processes in place, such as risk assessments and ensuring regulatory requirements were met, before a study was given the green light. Tasks in this role included working closely with the teams to monitor their adherence throughout the study period through monitoring visits and providing support in relation to NHS ethics and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) applications. 

At this point, I didn’t have experience in primary care research and felt drawn to understand the nuances of research delivery in this setting in order to have a true picture of the research landscape. I moved into the role of Trial Manager within the Southampton Primary Care Research Centre, where I predominantly worked on a cancer survivorship study with recruitment of over 2,700 participants, as well as managing the full set up of a self-swabbing sore throat study in the middle of the pandemic.

In this role, it meant working closely with many primary care sites (over 100!) and with the Clinical Research Networks (CRNs) nationally to support the study if surgeries did not have research trained staff. Recruiting within primary care is very different to recruiting in secondary care studies and it was interesting to learn about the differences in the identification of participants and the challenges of responses in primary care. I found using different tools helped with recruitment, such as social media and recruitment websites specifically designed for use by academic researchers, where it was possible to list the study details and the website would then contact registrants with study opportunities linked to their listed interests/conditions. 

As a result of the pandemic there were less grants being awarded at the time and it was at that point I joined University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust to manage the set up of the Dorset Clinical Trials Unit at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital. This was really exciting as it was a brand new venture and involved so many different elements in the role. There were processes and procedures that needed to be established to allow for application to the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) to become an accredited clinical trials unit as well as building a portfolio of work involving working up grant applications with clinicians and establishing research interests and gaps.

I’ve recently joined the CRN Wessex as Education and Training Manager. When the job was advertised, it felt like my ideal role; I had an opportunity to use all the knowledge that I have gained from the different parts of the research landscape I’ve worked in so far, I had to apply! It felt like a great way of making an impact in my local region because I’m able to work with the CRN Wessex partner organisations, including all those I’ve worked at before, to ask, ‘what can we do to help?’, and I'm able to consider numerous viewpoints because I've worked in a lot of different research environments. 

So that’s what I’m excited for with my new role, it's about seeing what we can do for our regional staff and reaching out to provide a service to our partner organisations in the region that may need additional help to deliver research and increase their research portfolio.  I am particularly excited to see what we can develop to help in the growth of research delivery in social care and public health settings. I hope to provide them with new knowledge, increased confidence and offer different ways of learning what's required to make new research studies a success.

If you have an idea about Education or Training in your area, please email me at