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Michael Sinden is an Assistant Trial Manager in the Experimental Medicine Division of Nuffield Department of Medicine. Here Michael describes his career to date and what his role entails.

Number of years in clinical trial management?

One year

How did you get here?

I joined the Primary Health Care Clinical Trial Unit in February 2022 as a coordinator for the PANORAMIC Trial and since late last year have been the study’s Assistant Trial Manager in the safety team at the Oxford Respiratory Trials Unit. 

What do you do in a typical day/week?

Having randomised nearly 28,000 participants, PANORAMIC is not typical of most trials. This level of recruitment has a knock-on effect on my working weeks, with many days characterised by a mix of the planned and expected being bumped off by the unexpected. Managing the two has been the biggest challenge.

What education/qualifications do you have?

With a degree in English Literature and a master’s in Politics, clinical trials ought not be a natural choice, but with all three subjects the interest stems from how the details join and interact to affect and create the whole.  

What skills or attributes are most valuable in your role?

The characteristics that help me progress are an eye for what does or does not stack up, tenacity, hard work and an ongoing awareness that participant safety and wellbeing trump all else. If I was to offer any advice to new starters it would be to never assume, to look under the bonnet, and to keep an eye on the wider picture.  

What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in trial management at Oxford?

You’ll discover your own highlights to a career in an Oxford University CTU, but for me it is the breadth of studies from which to choose and plan your future, together with the excellent, like-minded colleagues I have met on the way.