North Carolina Initiative Enhances Local Clinical Trial Workforce Development

Randall Johnson, Executive Director, North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Southeast Regional Office

As part of a broader effort to fuel his state’s growth as a clinical trial hub, Randall Johnson and team at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center worked closely with academic and business leaders to craft a program designed to advance the professionalization of the workforce and raise awareness of clinical research as an exciting and rewarding career.

“There continues to be a need for professional development” in the clinical trial workforce, said Johnson, executive director with the center’s southeastern regional office. “Our program worked to find what local workers and employers sought in order to give the local talent base opportunities to grow and improve” in the field, he added.

The program, FuseCR (Center for Clinical Research Workforce Development), is a collaborative effort designed to ignite a new synergy between the University of North Carolina Wilmington and the field of clinical research. By fusing resources and knowledge from academia and industry, FuseCR is energizing the local clinical research talent with powerful career- and industry-enhancing services.

“We’ve gotten great feedback on the program” since it was established in 2016, Johnson said. Hundreds of people have participated as mentors and mentees, he added.

The general objectives of the FuseCR programs and services are focused on four areas:

  • Build Connections Between Academia and Industry
  • Enhance Our Existing Workforce
  • Prepare Students for the Workplace
  • Educate the Next Generation of Talent

FuseCR was recently recognized as a finalist in ACRP’s 2020 Innovation in Workforce Development Award competition spotlighting some of the most innovative programs in the industry. Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, won first place. The Medical University of South Carolina was also a finalist.

Author: Michael Causey