PRA doubles down on the hunt for new R&D talent

PRA's Glenn Sward

PRA Health Sciences ($PRAH), looking to find the next generation of clinical researchers, is dialing up its recruitment pitch in hopes of meeting the escalating demand for CRO-run trials around the world.

The company debuted what it calls the Candidate Experience initiative, a multiplatform effort to identify and recruit qualified nurses, study coordinators and healthcare workers who may thrive as clinical research associates, or CRAs. The effort includes a new website,, and adds to the CRO's Bridge Program, which is designed to train would-be CRAs on the intricacies of running a clinical trial.

The idea is "to attract the highest caliber talent and give potential employees a comprehensive view of our culture and the many rewards of working in an industry that helps bring life-saving drugs to market," PRA Vice President Glenn Sward said in a statement. "The tremendous growth of our industry is driving the demand for more CRAs."

PRA's talent-development initiative also includes Oncology University, through which the company enrolls experienced CRAs and trains them on the particular complexities of working on cancer studies. The CRO also has a program targeting recent college graduates.

The scaled-up effort reflects both the rampant growth of the CRO industry but also the difficulty of finding and retaining talent. CROs have long been plagued by high turnover rates, and the likes of PRA, Quintiles ($Q) and Icon ($ICLR) have all invested in programs designed bolster recruitment and retention.

- read the statement