Anna University and Apollo Health Education and Research Foundation in Chennai have joined together for a comprehensive one-year post graduate certificate programme in clinical trials management (PGC-CTM) from this academic year.

The programme jointly offered by the two institutes is expected to provide quality human resources for the expanding clinical research industry in India.

The one year full time course, starting from March,2009, will have a four-month theory class to be handled by the AU-KBC Research Centre of the University at its MIT campus at Chrompet, followed by an eight month onsite practical and internship programme conducted by AHERF at the premises of the Apollo Hospitals engaged in clinical trials.

The theory classes in the University campus will give broad coverage of all topics of relevance to clinical trials management, including communication, documentation and interpersonal skills.

The faculties include more than 25 experts, specialized in diverse aspects of CTM, who are selected from popular hospitals, clinical research organizations, research labs and pharma companies. Two months class in the Apollo's clinical research centres is also handled by experts who are currently carrying out clinical trials, and using live data and case studies.

"Clinical trials is an important component of drug research requiring large numbers of trained personnel in a range of subjects and topics with strict regulatory and ethical implications, nationally and internationally", said C N Krishnan, programme director of the research centre.

The primary aim of the course is to make the candidates employable as clinical research associates (CRAs), clinical research coordinators (CRCs) in pharma companies, CRO firms, support staff for investigators, hospitals, surveillance staff for sponsors, biostatistical services to various clients involved with clinical trials, regulatory & drug control agencies and training faculty, he said.

Dr. Krishnan further said neither of these institutes is new to this field, as the AU-KBC Centre of the University has been conducting a certificate course emphasizing the theoretical part and the Apollo Hospital Group's Health Education and Research Foundation is conducting a course on the practical aspects. The complimentary strengths of these institutions are now being pooled together in the proposed programme to produce quality manpower for the clinical trials industry in out country, he said.

The conception, detailed design, execution and monitoring of the AU-AHERF Course would be supervised by a Joint Coordination Committee set up by the two institutions. At the level of about 1500 contact hours that the organizers propose to have for the course, this promises to be one of the most intensive and industry-oriented post graduate clinical trials courses available in the country, Dr. Krishnan opined.

Graduates or post graduates in pharmacy, chemical or biological sciences, biotechnology, medicine, dental surgery, allied health sciences, Indian system of medicines and paramedical sciences can apply for the programme.