Working at HMR
Unlike other companies, for many of our graduate posts we don’t require experience of related work. That’s because we have a dedicated training team and an award-winning, university-accredited training programme. For many of our new starters, it’s their first scientific job. We seek out candidates with exceptional potential. Below are some examples of our entry-level posts. Even when we’re not actively recruiting, we’re happy to receive your CV. If it looks promising, we’ll keep it on file until we’re next recruiting, or for up to 3 months.
What our ex-employees (2007–2013, n = 81) say about working here:
Work experience or work shadowing
We can’t currently offer unpaid experience or work shadowing.
Recruitment & Screening Associates recruit and screen volunteers for our clinical trials. Duties include maintaining a database of potential subjects, interviewing them on the telephone, liaising with GPs, and taking physiological measurements: blood pressure, ECG, etc. Recruitment & Screening Associates work office hours, Monday to Friday. Once trained in clinical procedures, they can work overtime on our wards in the evenings or at weekends if they wish.
We usually start new people on casual contracts, with the aim of making them permanent after 8–12 months. Recruitment staff can progress to Senior and Principal Recruitment & Screening Associates. Those with exceptional ability have progressed to managerial roles such as Deputy Team Leader, Team Leader or Head of Recruitment and Screening.
We require excellent communication skills and an ‘A’ level (or equivalent) in Biology, and ideally some experience of telephone working. A customer services background, or experience in a scientific or clinical environment, is useful, but we give full training.
We advertise in the Metro and Evening Standard, and on Indeed.
Clinical Trials Associates take physiological measurements and blood samples from participants in our clinical trials. We train staff to be ‘trial champions’ who take responsibility for running designated trials: ensuring that everything is in place before the trial starts, preparing work instructions, schedules and case record forms; liaising with sponsor representatives over trial progress; and ensuring that all the paperwork is complete when the trial ends. Clinical Trials Associates work on a rota including evening, night and weekend shifts. However, most ward activity occurs between 0800–1200 h.
Clinical Trials Associates are enrolled on our University Certificate in Clinical Pharmacology Practice, funded by us and run in partnership with the University of West London. We prefer to promote people from within the company rather than recruit externally, so some of our Clinical Trials Associates have progressed to become Data Managers, Biomedical Scientists, Quality Research Associates, or Clinical Project Managers. Others have developed within the ward teams to become Senior or Principal Clinical Trials Associates, or to take on managerial roles such as Deputy Team Leader or Team Leader.
First and foremost, we look for graduates with an excellent academic record, who have the potential to become exceptional Clinical Trials Associates. An aptitude for accurate paperwork and attention to detail are essential, so we look very carefully at the presentation of applicants’ CVs and their covering e-mails.
We’re most likely to advertise on Indeed or in the New Scientist.
Currently about 12% of our work comes from Japan. We specialise in ‘bridging trials’, where medicines are tested in Japanese subjects and the results compared with other ethnic groups. Therefore, we need fluent Japanese-speaking Recruitment & Screening Associates to recruit and screen healthy Japanese subjects, and Research Associates to monitor them when they’re resident on our wards, and to take blood samples and physiological measurements – blood pressure, ECG, etc. Japanese-speaking Recruitment & Screening Associates work office hours, Monday to Friday, whereas Research Associates work on a rota including evening, night and weekend shifts.
Both posts require fluency in both English and Japanese. Recruitment & Screening Associates are usually graduates (from any discipline) with experience of telephone work or health screening. Research Associates are usually nurses registered in Japan, or science graduates. As with nurses and technicians, we offer opportunities for promotion, to Senior Recruitment & Screening Associate, and to Senior or Principal Research Associate. There’s also the potential for managerial responsibility as Deputy Team Leader or Team Leader.
We advertise in the national press or on MixB.
There’s a lot of overlap between the Clinical Trials Associate and Research Nurse roles. Nurses also take on the role of ‘trial champion’ (see Clinical Trials Associate above). Nurses have additional responsibilities for the health and wellbeing of our trial subjects, and take the lead role in dosing. Nurses also lead our emergency scenarios, and carry a bleep as part of the resuscitation team. They take charge of our wards of dosed subjects, and care for unwell subjects when necessary. However, there’s much less nursing care required here than in a hospital environment, because subjects have to be healthy to take part in our trials. There’s a greater emphasis on data collection and scientific aspects of drug development. Research Nurses work on a rota including evening, night and weekend shifts. However, most ward activity occurs between 0800–1200 h.
Our nurses are enrolled on a CPPD course in Clinical Pharmacology Practice, run in partnership with the University of West London. The course is funded by us and can be used to meet PREPP requirements. Our nurses can progress to Senior Research Nurse or Clinical Nurse Specialist, or to take on managerial responsibilities such as Deputy Team Leader or Team Leader. Those with nurse specialisations such as asthma or endoscopy may become our ward experts in those areas. Nurses have also gone on to be Staff Training Manager, and to teach on the course.
Research Nurses must have adult nursing registration (RGN) with the NMC, and at least 1 year’s post-registration experience. We don’t require any previous research experience, as we give full training. When recruiting, we give preference to nurses with experience in an acute hospital setting, with hands-on experience of medical emergencies. Research Nurses must have an aptitude for paperwork, so we look carefully at the presentation of applicants’ CVs and their covering e-mails. Nurses also need good word-processing skills, and excellent attention to detail.
We advertise 2 or 3 times a year in the Nursing Times, RCN Bulletin or Nursing Standard.
Research Physicians are, when possible, involved in the whole trial process: discussions with trial sponsor (usually a pharmaceutical company), planning of trial, helping to set up physiological measurements, screening subjects, supervising the dosing sessions, looking after subjects during residence and as outpatients, following up subjects, and writing safety reports. Physicians with good writing skills can draft publications. But the most important requirement of the job is competence in clinical medicine, including standard procedures like IV cannulation. The physician’s work is a mixture of clinical work, science, and administration.
Physicians generally begin at 0730–0800 h and finish at 1600–1700 h, Monday to Friday, but also have to work evenings or weekends from time to time. In addition to the hours above, the job requires them to be resident in HMR for 1 weekday (1800–0800 h) most weeks when volunteers are on the ward. The rota is currently a 1 in 5, so each physician is resident on 1 weekday (Mon–Fri) each week. We have a ‘bank’ of Resident Medical Officers who cover most weekends.
A Research Physician post at HMR leads most naturally towards a career in either clinical pharmacology or pharmaceutical medicine. It’s an excellent introduction for anyone contemplating a career in the pharmaceutical industry, with which we have very close contact. Our physicians get a good overview of the potential new medicines produced by the international pharmaceutical industry. The job would also be very useful experience for someone planning to return to clinical medicine: it gives good experience in clinical pharmacology, and introduces the physician to the discipline of research. HMR offers a great introduction to quality systems and quality-focused activities. There’s a career path within HMR to Senior Research Physician or Clinical Pharmacologist.
Ideally, Research Physician candidates should have MRCP and 4 years’ post-qualification experience, but we also consider less experienced physicians with enthusiasm and willingness to learn. We offer support for study leading to the Diploma in Human Pharmacology, and for Specialty Training in Pharmaceutical Medicine. Suitable candidates receive training to become a Principal Investigator. Physicians must be ALS-registered, hold full GMC registration and a licence to practise, and have at least 3 years’ post-qualification experience.
We advertise in the BMJ.
Some Biomedical Science courses encourage students to do a year’s sandwich placement. Every year we take on 2 students in July and they work, full-time, through to August the following year. Students process samples generated by clinical trials, and help Biomedical Scientists to operate the analysers. They also assist with calibration and maintenance of laboratory equipment and with internal quality control procedures. Students do a project, which is written up as part of their course. Sometimes evening and weekend work is required – students are always supervised on those shifts.
Students must have scored highly in their exams and be able to provide excellent references from university tutors.
The ideal time to apply for Industrial Work Placements is in the spring (around March).
Biomedical Scientists analyse samples generated by clinical trials, and technically validate the results. They liaise with trial teams to determine sample requirements, and help to write trial-specific laboratory instructions. They also validate new methods, maintain and calibrate equipment, ensure strict adherence to internal quality control procedures, and prepare data for submission to external quality assurance programmes. Biomedical Scientists work on a rota of early (0800–1600 h), mid (1030–1800 h), and late (1300–2000 h) shifts. Weekend work is also required. Less frequently, trials might have procedures that require lab procedures during the night.
We have training status from the Institute of Biomedical Scientists (IBMS) to train medical laboratory assistants (MLA) to become HCPC-registered Biomedical Scientists. That route is open only to internal candidates – usually those who’ve worked on our wards as Research Technicians or who’ve done Industrial Work Placements here. Biomedical Scientists with managerial ability have been promoted to Senior Biomedical Scientist or Chief Biomedical Scientist.
We recruit externally for Biomedical Scientists from time to time. We require applicants with multidisciplinary experience, and clinical trials experience is an advantage.
We advertise in the IBMS Gazette.
Pharmacy Assistants and Technicians prepare, dispense, repackage, and relabel IMP (Investigational Medicinal Product) in our GMP-compliant pharmacy and radiopharmacy. Other duties include: receiving trial supplies; cleaning the aseptic unit and pharmacy equipment; ordering supplies; and preparing documents for pharmacy work. Pharmacy Assistants and Technicians work core hours of 0800–1600 h, Monday to Friday, but may be required to work early mornings, evenings or weekends depending on the requirements of specific trials.
The ideal candidate would have a degree in microbiology or pharmaceutical science and/or experience of aseptic handling. Experience of working with radiopharmaceuticals is an advantage. We advertise posts both internally and externally.
We advertise in the PJ.
Pharmacists direct and supervise the Pharmacy Assistants and Pharmacy Technicians responsible for production. They prepare IMP, including sterile dose forms and radiopharmaceuticals, and advise HMR and trial sponsors on pharmacy work. Their core hours are 0800–1600 h, Monday to Friday, but they may be required to work early mornings, evenings or weekends, depending on the requirements of specific trials.
The ideal candidate would have an in-depth understanding of pharmacy quality issues and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), and be experienced in preparation of a wide variety of dose forms, including sterile products for parenteral administration. Experience of working with radiopharmaceuticals is an advantage.
We advertise in the PJ.
Clinical Project Managers are accountable for the management of administrative aspects of trials, from receipt of first enquiry to completion of report. They write and review trial protocols, and advise the sponsor on trial design, logistics and methodology. They write information and consent forms and Ethics Committee submissions, and prepare applications for Clinical Trial Authorisations and for ARSAC approval. They’re key contacts for liaison with pharmaceutical companies, other research laboratories and hospital departments. They also coordinate activities among the various departments at HMR. Clinical Project Managers work office hours, Monday to Friday, but it’s a demanding role which often spills into the evening.
There’s a career path to Senior Clinical Project Manager or Principal Scientist. Those with managerial ability may become Deputy Team Leader or Team Leader.
Competition for Clinical Project Manager posts is fierce. We ask for a PhD or high-calibre graduate, with exceptional writing skills and, ideally, experience of early drug development. However, enthusiasm and commitment are more important than experience. We ask candidates to provide an example of their scientific writing, and those who are shortlisted sit a 2-hour writing test. CVs and covering letters must be close to flawless to stand out.
We advertise in the New Scientist.
Data Managers support trials from CRF design to database lock (including database set-up activities) within agreed project timelines. They’re the point of contact for both internal and external customers for data management, and ensure that trial data are well-protected and reliable. Data Managers work office hours, Monday to Friday. When we’re very busy, evening or weekend work might be required.
Where possible, we recruit Trainee Data Managers from within the company. Experience of working on our wards, eg as a Research Technician, is invaluable for understanding the trial process and resolving data queries. There’s a career path from Trainee Data Manager to Data Manager, and on to Senior Data Manager. Exceptional staff have taken on managerial responsibility as Deputy Team Leader or Team Leader.
Sometimes, owing to short timeframes and expansion of our workload, we take on experienced external candidates. When recruiting Data Managers, we look for: extensive relevant data management experience within the pharmaceutical industry or a clinical research organisation, including experience in Phase I; experience of leading multiple trials at the same time, and acting as point of contact for both internal and external customers; good knowledge of the clinical development process and its critical paths; knowledge of ICH-GCP; strong communication skills; basic knowledge of CDISC and SDTM; basic knowledge of SAS (desirable but not essential); and a BSc or MSc in Computer Science, Statistics, Mathematics, Life Sciences or other subject with high scientific content.
We advertise on Indeed.
SAS Programmers program SDTM datasets and tables, figures and listings for clinical reports, and ad hoc datasets as required. They provide programming support to data management activities, and act as point of contact for both internal and external customers for allocated trials. They ensure that data are well protected and reliable. SAS Programmers work office hours, Monday to Friday. When we’re very busy, evening or weekend work might be required.
As with Data Managers, we recruit Trainee SAS Programmers, when we can, from inside the company. There’s a career path from Trainee SAS Programmer to SAS Programmer, and on to Senior or Principal SAS Programmer.
Sometimes, owing to short timeframes and expansion of our workload, we take on experienced external candidates. When recruiting SAS Programmers we look for: experience of handling multiple requests at the same time and acting as point of contact for both internal and external customers; good knowledge BASE SAS ,and ideally some knowledge of MACRO and STAT; experience of creating complex data sets from various sources, with a careful eye for outliers and errors; strong communication skills; experience of working with CDISC-compliant SDTM datasets; knowledge of ICH-GCP; and a BSc or MSc in Computer Science, Statistics, Mathematics, Life Sciences or other subject with high scientific content.
We advertise on Indeed.
Quality Research Associates assist the Quality Manager in quality assurance activities. They help with internal audits, and control quality system documents and records of non-conformances. They train staff in QC, QA, EU Directive 2001/20/EC, and GCP. Quality Research Associates work office hours, Monday to Friday.
We prefer to recruit internally for these posts. Most Quality Research Associates start on our wards as Research Technicians. An understanding of our procedures and how trials are conducted is invaluable for auditing. There’s a career path to Senior Quality Research Associate. Quality Research Associates have progressed to become Quality Manager or Head of Quality Services.
The ideal candidate would be a life science graduate, with good communication skills and an eye for detail.
Applications aren’t open to external candidates.
Increasingly, we get requests for feedback on rejected applications. Unfortunately we can’t respond to every request. On this page, we’ve grouped information about what we look for, and the mistakes that applicants commonly make.
We receive hundreds of applications each year, so we’re most likely to respond positively to a well presented and well written covering letter, tailored to our vacancy.
Make every approach to a potential employer as professional as possible, including any covering e-mail. Don’t drop capital letters or punctuation. If the job advert doesn’t include a named contact, addressing your letter or e-mail ‘Dear sir or madam’ is fine. Attention to detail is important for most roles here, so re-read your application before sending it, to ensure that there are no mistakes.
We want to hear about your experience and achievements, and how they relate to the job you’ve applied for. We’re less interested in reading claims about personal qualities (‘a self-motivated, innovative thinker, who works as well individually as in a team’) or text cut and pasted from your current job description. Equally, we’d rather not see chunks of text copied from our own websites, telling us what we do.
If your current job is about to end, let us know. If you’re looking for a change in career direction, tell us why, eg if your degree/current job is laboratory-based and you’re applying to work on our wards. If you have ongoing trial commitments, tell us when they’ll finish, and what hours you’re available to work. If you’re working in the UK on a visa or require sponsorship, include details. If you live >1 hour away, tell us if you’re willing to relocate.
A covering letter of 1 page is perfect, with a standard font that’s easily readable (eg Times New Roman, 12). Write in plain English, and avoid embellishments such as ‘I trust that you will view my application favourably and permit me the opportunity of an interview with your esteemed organisation at your earliest convenience’. We prefer a 2- or 3-page CV, without a title page. However, for a professions such as nursing or medicine, or for those with lists of publications, the CV might need to be longer. Be aware that we check formatting of CVs to assess applicants’ word processing skills.
We like to see degree class and A-level grades on your CV – if you don’t include them, we might assume the worst. We search out graduates who’ve done weekend or summer jobs, so if you’ve worked in a shop or fast-food outlet, don’t miss that out of your CV. Account for all gaps in employment, eg tell us if you’ve taken time out to go travelling. If you’ve been president of a university society, arranged a charity event, played a musical instrument to a high grade, or been captain of a football team, let us know.
We prefer a first approach by e-mail rather than by telephone. Send attachments as Word documents or PDFs. Double-check that you’ve attached all your attachments before pressing Send.
E-mail applications to firstname.lastname@example.org