Start Dates:

  • Africa - 5th November
  • Asia - 12th November

About the course:

Building on the success of our 2017 course, the program teaches best practices for coordinating the clinical trial process including study design and protocol development, ethics, GCP, data management, regulatory affairs, safety monitoring and practical management skills.

This course is free for successful applicants and will benefit study coordinators working in all disease areas.

The module is an official executive course from the Institute for Global Health-University of Siena, organized and coordinated by the Faculty of Capacity Development.  Learners who pass the assessment are awarded a certificate by the University.  Learners who complete the course but choose not to take the assessment will receive a Certificate of Completion from FCD.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this course, successful participants will be able to do the following:

  • Prepare sites for clinical trial start up through an overall understanding of the clinical trial process from project management to research design and protocol development.
  • Demonstrate the ability to effectively conduct clinical trials using patient recruitment and retention approaches, data management, data monitoring, pharmacovigilance, safety reporting and good financial practices.
  • Design and maintain the quality system of a clinical trial through implementing SOPs, handling audits and inspections, as well as other aspects of QA and QC.
  • Identify and address key challenges in managing research sites including developing and maintaining capacity, doing community engagement and managing grants.
  • Develop people management skills and techniques that will be useful in working with internal colleagues and external partners

Expected Outcomes and Impacts from this Program

The program is monitored and evaluated by the WHO-TDR, the Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases and the improvements we expect as a result of the course include:

  • Improved operations metrics at sites where graduates work
  • Learners’ quality of work will discernably improve
  • Learners will be able to effectively coordinate the conduct of clinical trials
  • There should be an improved outcome for study participant safety and wellbeing, recruitment and retention
  • Learners should be better able to design and maintain the quality system of a trial through efficient SOP and QC systems
  • Research centers should be able to take on additional studies
  • Learners should be able to efficiently identify and address key challenges in managing their sites
  • They should be better able to prepare sites for clinical trial start up
  • They should be able to take on more responsibilities in their current job
  • They will develop people management skills and techniques in order to better coordinate the team and the site
  • They will be more effective when collaborating with external partners (e.g. sponsors)
  • Their financial and time management skills will improve
  • Better performing participants will be trained to train others which should lead to the uptake and replication of the course by graduates and partner institutions
  • The outcomes and impacts will lead to increased acknowledgement of the importance of training by the partner institutions
  • Sponsors, Preferred Providers and other stakeholders will have better knowledge of the training status of site coordination personnel


This is a blended program which includes 12 online lessons delivered via interactive recorded presentations, live and asynchronous tutorials, discussion forums and personalized mentoring.

Online Lessons:

Week Lesson Title
1 Induction and Skills Review
2 Introduction to Clinical Research Operations
3 Data Management and Biostatistics
4 Study Design and Protocol Development
5 Project and Financial Management
6 Conducting a Trial Part 1
7 Conducting a Trial Part 2
8 Working with External Partners
9 Quality Systems, Audits and Inspections
10 Risk Based Monitoring
11 Pharmacovigilance
12 Practical Issues Running a Clinical Research Site


Is the Course for You?

This is a practical course where learnings can be applied immediately.

Apply if you currently work in clinical research as a Study Coordinator, or wish to work in this field.  Participants are expected to include nurses, scientists and clinicians, clinical research auditors and clinical monitors.

Applicants should ideally have an academic qualification in one of the following fields: nursing, clinical medicine, pharmacy, pharmacology, biology, mathematics, statistics or a related subject, however applicants with relevant experience or motivation without formal academic qualification will also be considered.

Please note, applicants can work in any disease area such as malaria, TB, HIV, enteric and diarrheal diseases etc.

However, as the course measures its impact based on the degree to which participants apply their learnings, those who are not actively working as Study Coordinators (or in a similar role) may not realize the intended benefits from the course.

An open access version of the 2017 course is available to review here: Open Access Course

Log in as a ‘guest’.

Time Commitment

There are no fees but the course is an academic program. Depending on your existing knowledge expect to spend between 6 to 12 hours per week on the course.

A typical week will look like:


Studying interactive presentations & completing learning tasks

2 to 3 hrs

Forum Discussions

1 to 2 hrs

Live Video Conference

1 hour

Preparing for Assessment

1 to 3 hrs

Independent Study

1 to 3 hrs

There will be a number of weeks after the course to prepare your assessment. This may consist of a group exercise, for example, a scenario-based case study that a team must solve, plus an individual essay. The essay gives you the chance to show how you achieved the learning outcomes.

Please note, previous students report the course required 6 hours of work for subjects they had experience with, but some students reported they needed up to 20 hours for topics new to them.

Further Study 

Learners who perform well and demonstrate high potential to teach the course will be invited to participate in the Certified Trainer Program (CTP) beginning in Q1, 2019. Upon successful completion of the CTP, you may be Certified to tutor the course when using the Quality Assurance framework created by FCD

Who is Eligible?

Funding covers the fees for qualified applicants from the following organizations or regions:

  • Study Coordinators (SCs), or those who wish to become SCs, working in Africa or Asia at research sites collaborating with Product Development Partners in the Global Health Clinical Consortium.
  • Study Coordinators or those who wish to become SCs, working in Africa or Asia working with Preferred Providers in the Global Health Clinical Consortium.
  • WHO-TDR Fellows (former and current) working in Africa or Asia.
  • Graduates of the University of Siena’s Master in Vaccinology and Pharmaceutical Clinical Development working in Africa or Asia.
  • A limited number of places are available for applicants working in other low-income regions or who work in Africa or Asia but whose sites are not currently working with members of the GHCC.

Key Dates

Between now and August 31st, please apply here:

The course will run for twelve weeks from October 1st to December 17th.

Please Note: You must be able to commit six to twelve hours to study each week during the course.

Application Process

Applicants will need to submit the following:

  • A Curriculum Vitae detailing your academic and professional achievements
  • A 400 to 500-word letter of motivation outlining how your participation will benefit you and your organization
  • Proof of identity (copy of passport or driver’s license)
  • Endorsement from a senior manager in your organization

The application page is here:


Participants will be evaluated through engagement in the online program and submission of a Continuous Assessment.

Most of the assessment will be completed during the online lessons and you will have three weeks to submit it after the course ends.

The course is in English, non-native English speakers may be asked to show proof of proficiency in English before being accepted into the course.

Further Details

For more information please contact

To show proof of endorsement please download and print a copy of the Letter of Endorsement (LOE). Please discuss it with your line manager, Principal Investigator or another colleague authorized to sign on behalf of your organization.  Ask them to discuss the course with you and how it will benefit you and your organization by either closing a skills gap or meeting training needs.  Ask them to sign the LOE. It must then be scanned and uploaded as part of your application.

For more information please contact one of the following:


Jeremy Whitty

Renee Holt