Medical Statistics Careers Event 2020
Our annual PSI Medical Statistics Careers Event, will be held at the De Montfort University in Leicester on Wednesday 4th March 2020.
Medical Statisticians are key players in a drug development project team within the research, development and manufacturing of a pharmaceutical product.
Statisticians are becoming highly sought in the pharmaceutical industry and increasingly play leading roles in areas such as pharmacology, health economics, real world evidence, personalised healthcare, manufacturing and marketing.
Statisticians are involved in a wide range of activities, including:
Statisticians almost never work in isolation in the pharmaceutical industry. Project teams are made up of a variety of disciplines, to include doctors, scientists, operations managers, compliance and marketing teams.
Many pharmaceutical companies and contract research organisations (CROs) employ statistical programmers who work closely with the statisticians to carry out a wide range of activities.
Their main role is to help design and then program the tables, listings and figures that summarise the data collected during a clinical trial. Statistical programmers are also responsible for developing and validating computer software and macros, both in-house and externally purchased, used by both statisticians and statistical programmers.
It is important that they are often searching for the most efficient techniques for statistical reporting and skills such as good algorithm design and defensive programming are important. Programmers also need to stay up-to-date with different software functionalities and tools so that programmers can easily adapt their existing knowledge to new programming environments and languages.
Each year the demand for qualified statisticians increases.
Medical statisticians almost always have an MSc in Statistics, and a PhD is not uncommon. The MSc courses are seen to provide a strong background in statistics as well as the ability and confidence to apply the knowledge to a wide range of problems.
Some organisations sponsor MSc students with the aim of ensuring that high standards of academic training within medical statistics are maintained. Contact university course coordinators to inquire about sponsorship options.
Statistical programmers require a BSc in subjects with a high numerical or computing content.
They need to be able to work both individually and within teams, to be able to communicate statistical concepts and influence colleagues with other expertise’s and to think strategically and make a wider contribution to the employer beyond a purely statistical input.
Employers look beyond educational background and seek a range of capabilities:
Do you want a career that is exciting, varied, always advancing and makes a real difference to the lives of people all over the world?
Pharmaceutical research and development is changing fast and with it the roles of statisticians and statistical programmers are continually being re-defined. The historical ‘one-size fits all’ drug model is quickly being replaced by innovative, targeted, personalized medicine. The increasing pressure of government budget cuts and availability of biosimilars necessitates an alternative, more agile approach to drug development. The pharmaceutical industry is moving into a new era where analytical skills are highly sought: adaptive, flexible trial designs are replacing traditional phase I-IV models, interactive, dynamic data displays provide more flexibility and speed over traditional static reports.
The desire for personalized healthcare is leading the way to exploring high dimensional data such as imaging, genetics and biomarkers. New and exciting opportunities are opening in the field of big data and with-it techniques for artificial learning and machine learning.
For these reasons, the industry is turning to the following innovative approaches:
In almost all these areas, the role of statistics and statisticians is growing. Are you up for the challenge?
The work is more varied than you might expect; attend meetings, conferences and participate in training to develop personal or technical skills. The best aspect of this job is working in a multidisciplinary team to make a real difference to patients. The work is highly rewarding; be at the forefront of finding cures for today’s most serious illnesses.
There are many opportunities to travel abroad to discuss the design of trials, collect information, discuss results and meet with the regulatory authorities. There are also opportunities for temporary or permanent employment abroad as most companies are international. The salaries and benefits are very competitive with statistical posts in other industries.
More experienced colleagues will often support a junior statistician. This lends itself to continual learning and will be backed up with more formal training. The future for statisticians who want to progress can go in several directions - as a manager, of people or projects, or as a technical statistical specialist.