If you’ve already made the choice to work as a statistician or statistical programmer within medical research, then you might be wondering what career paths will be open to you in the future. The area of medical research offers excellent career progression due to the wide range of routes that you can take; you could choose to focus on your technical skills and become a methodology expert for example, or you may prefer to develop your soft skills and become a manager.

The list below has been included to give you an idea of some of the routes you can take once you’re working within medical research. The information is intended to be a guide only, and will vary from company to company. We couldn’t include all roles as there are so many possibilities – but here are a few good examples. Click on each role for an in-depth profile, written by someone within the industry.

Biostatistician / Statistical programmer : Emma McEntee

Experience level: 0 - 3 years

Key responsibilities:

  • Programming/QCing outputs, drafting statistical analysis plans including dataset specifications and output shells.
  • Could specialise in non-clinical or clinical development, or early or late phase of development.

Senior biostatistician / Senior statistical programmer : Teodora Trasieva

Experience level: 2 - 5 years

Key responsibilities: 

  • Lead role on projects, communication with client, medics, project leads, etc., review clinical study reports and publications.
  • Could specialise in particular therapeutic areas, or statistical methodologies.

Principal biostatistician / Principal statistical programmer : Amanda Darekar

Experience level: 5 years +

Key responsibilities: 

  • Oversight role on projects, supporting more junior staff, reviewing work prepared by others, budgeting and resource management.
  • Could be the compound or account lead for a set of trials.

Specialist : Richard Houghton

Experience level: Varies


  • Real world evidence or epidemiology, pharmacometrics, health economics

Freelance / Contract statistician

Experience level:

5 years +

Key responsibilities: 

  • Depending on experience level, contractors may be hired to offer specialist support on particular tasks (e.g. submissions) or projects, or may be hired to share the workload during busy spells.
  • Work on short to medium-term temporary contracts.

Expert : James Bell

Experience level: 8 years +


  • Expert in statistical methodologies, therapeutic areas or tasks (e.g. submissions). Statistical programmers may be experts in creating business solutions tools (e.g. standardisation tools). 

Team Manager : Vicky Marriott

Experience level: 8 years +

Key responsibilities: 

  • Supporting induction of new starters, and training/progressing existing staff, resource management, performance management, project oversight, process review and improvement.


Experience level: 15 years +

Key responsibilities: 

Strategic leadership within a department and across departments, process review and improvement, business management and performance.


Experience level: 10 years +


Self-employed experts who can offer advice and support to clients.


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