Kana Imamura - Japan, Graduate of the class of 2017, says: “Working at ICON helped me develop the ability to ‘think’. Back when I was a student, everything was pretty much passive and systematic; we would learn things in class, take exams to test our knowledge and continue the cycle. But now, I make a conscious effort to stop and think before taking any decisions.

My personal vision is to become a competent CRA who is able to communicate well and build good relationships with sites. Now that I’ve been assigned to a project, I’d like to gain full trust and confidence from investigators and site staff over the next year. Also, after 3 years or so, I’d like to be able to coach and guide the junior CRAs, just like how the experienced CRAs around me are supporting me right now.

Knowledge is the foundation to think logically and proactively, so it is important that you continue learning. Never stop, even after you enter the professional world. Make sure you have a solid understanding of the basics of clinical research including GCP!”

Takahiro Akata - Japan says of his experiences: “The biggest change for me was the ability to put myself in other people’s shoes and think from their perspectives. I also learned how to convey my thoughts and articulate the message in a way so that it is easier for others to understand.

In terms of my vision, I learned about other people’s past achievements in clinical research, including Funami-san’s, and I was truly inspired by the positive changes they were bringing into the patients’ lives. I’d like to fully leverage my scientific background and contribute to the development of as many drugs as possible.

It’s important that you set your personal goals high, but it is equally important to stop and reflect on yourself once in a while to understand where you currently stand at that moment.”

Yurie Kagawa says: “Compared to when I was a student, there has definitely been a change in the level of responsibility. Back then, my personal decisions affected only myself – but now, my actions and words will impact all others around me, including my team, sponsor, site staff and even patients. What I also learned is the importance of patient safety – first and foremost, ensuring the patients’ safety and wellbeing throughout the clinical research process.

My vision is to become the best partner for sponsor and institutions in the area of clinical research, where my actions and contributions will fulfill patients’ needs down the line. I’d like to become a CRA who can enhance the quality and speed of clinical trials, delivering new drugs to the market and into the hands of those who need them as quickly as possible.”

Regarding advice to participants, Yurie advises: “Don’t postpone things; take actions early. Think a few steps ahead and be prepared at all times for the unexpected.”

Yuta Wada - Japan, another Graduate of the Class of 2017, says: “When we were students, we usually interacted with the same group of people from the same class, going through the same routine every day, but once we entered the workforce everything seemed to change. The new environment was a bit daunting at first, but over time I learned to interact and build good relationships with different groups of people from different backgrounds

Being able to interact with sites and sponsors effectively is my personal vision for the next year. I’d also like to engage as many people as possible through study groups and activities that will help with our learning. As far as my long-term vision goes, one day I’d like to be able to tell and interesting story about my career path to the juniors, just like Ichikawa-san (General Manager of ICON Japan) has shared about his background with me.”

Yuta’s advice to participants is to remember: “You are not alone. There will be people around you, your managers as well as your colleagues to support you. But at the same time, be responsible for your own learning. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Keep these in mind and your time here will be enjoyable and fulfilling!”

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