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Clinical research science certificate offered at NCCU


North Carolina Central University (NCCU) will launch a Clinical Research Science Certificate Program in August 2019 to address the growing need for clinical researchers and trial scientists in North Carolina and beyond.

Clinical research scientists work on projects related to the development and testing of new medications and medical devices for safety and effectiveness. Adding lab certification could boost the career outlook for students majoring in sciences and bring added skills to those already working in the field, said Faye Calhoun, DPA, director of the partnership for NCCU. “Duke University has a tremendous number of programs and experience in clinical research science, and we are grateful for their support.”

“The new certificate program was developed as a result of the NCCU-Duke University Partnership agreement that included a workforce development objective to build clinical trials research and management into our academic offerings,” Calhoun said.

The certificate would prepare students for work in university laboratories, pharmaceutical manufacturers and the region’s growing number of clinical research organizations, often called CROs. Salaries start at about $50,000 for an entry-level research assistant and may climb well above $100,000 for a seasoned scientist, based on experience and education, according to Payscale.com.

“The 12-credit-hour certificate program requires nine credit hours of instruction and three credit hours of clinical rotation with industry and academic partners,” Andy Li, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at NCCU. “Pending final approvals, a bachelor’s degree and an academic minor in clinical research science will be introduced at a later date.”

The Triangle area is considered one of the nation’s hot spots for scientific research, with spending to conduct clinical trials contributing almost $1.8 billion to North Carolina’s economy annually, according to industry reports. The field is growing rapidly, said Hernan Navarro, PhD, director of the Bio-manufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise at NCCU and formerly chief scientist for RTI International.

“Clinical research scientists are in high demand, and we intend to provide our students with the knowledge and tools needed to function at a high level in these positions,” Navarro said.

The certificate program is offered through the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Key faculty include Tracie Locklear, PhD, assistant research professor, and Roslyn Lewis, program coordinator.

For more information about the certificate program, contact Lewis at crsp@nccu.edu or 919-530-7551.


Published: Friday, June 14, 2019
by Senior Writer and Editor, Renee Elder
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