“The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is a knowledge of our own ignorance”- Benjamin Franklin

The need for good quality research is irrefutable, especially when it comes to human health. Clinical research is a broad term encompassing any research that involves humans. This may include experimental designs, what we call clinical trials, or observational studies that help in generating information on origin, risk factors and consequences of diseases. Great ideas need great execution, and great execution needs great planning, and finally great planning needs great communication.

The Masters in clinical research program offered by the Indian Institute of Public Health-Delhi in collaboration with Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research was conceptualised and designed by a group of experienced multidisciplinary clinical scientists, basic scientists, and public health researchers. The overarching goal of this program is to impart skills necessary for generating, executing and communicating research in a scientifically sound and ethical manner.

The uniqueness of this program is (1) its suitability for a wide range of science graduates and not just for graduates from medical field, (2) weightage given to all aspects of research such as design, conduct and reporting, (3) skill-based learning and teaching, and (4) is delivered by in-house full time faculty. The key skills you will learn are statistical analysis, critical appraisal and scientific writing across several specific areas in clinical research (FAQ). Students get to learn not just the core subjects, but soft skills and leadership skills. Twenty five percent of the program is dedicated to Master thesis project where the student gets to do what they learn under the guidance of a thesis supervisor. You have something to learn every day of the two years you spend in this program!

A common question posed to us is, “What can this course do to my career trajectory?”, to which my answer has always been, “Well, you decide what your trajectory should be… we only guide you towards your goal and rest is your effort”. Irrespective of your undergraduate training, your thirst to learn more and hunger for knowledge is the driving force. We teach you to become an independent learner, move from rote learning to analytic thinking and instil qualities of an ethical researcher.

Our Master’s graduates can choose to become an independent scientist for which a PhD is crucial. They can choose to enrol into a PhD program as a continuation of this Master’s Program (Brochure) or do a PhD at an institution of their choice (nationally or internationally). There are several other options in terms of job placements after the successful completion of the two year Master’s program. They can opt for research project management, data management in contract research organisations, any academic or non-profit organisation, pharmacovigilance in a national or international organisation, or work in organisations related to health technology assessments.

Finally, students often say that a Masters in Clinical research is not a mandatory qualification for these jobs. Yes, they may not be mandatory at several instances (such for a pharmacy, biotechnology, or medical or dental graduate), but the likelihood to be selected for a job in the above mentioned opportunities is very high post-Masters in clinical research and the trajectory of promotions after joining a job is steeper for our graduates. We have excellent placement statisitcs since the program was launched in 2013 and our alumni are proofs for the success story of our unique program.

You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.” – Clay P. Bedford

The author is Dr Niveditha Devasenapathy, Associate Professor, IIPH Delhi. Views are personal