Contract Research Organisations and Drug Development

Course Type
Postgraduate, Module

Module Overview

The focus of this module is to understand and critically appraise how Contract Research Organisations (CROs) interact with pharmaceutical companies. A CRO can be defined as a service organisation that provides support to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries in the form of research services outsourced on a contract basis. CROs warrants particular attention as a modern paradigm of the privatised biopharmaceutical sector. Therefore, this module will examine the importance of CROs in the globalisation and commercialisation of scientific research, highlighting their role in how science is becoming increasingly commercialised, and how this has affected the conduct of scientific research. The module will investigate the rapid rise of CROs since the early 1980’s and how this has impacted upon biopharmaceutical development. CROs have been integral to the innovation of many scientific areas, including the ethics behind the treatment of human subjects and the subjection of research tools to commercialisation. Furthermore, the global CRO market and consequent competition across organisations will also be critically examined. Students will analyse CRO technology, the research CRO’s pursue, and the legal and policy initiatives that CRO’s have fostered during their recently rapid rise. 

Credits available

10 Masters level credits

Module attendance required

TBC, 20 hours contact time with lectures and small group teaching sessions

Module dates

Module dates for 2019/20 to be confirmed shortly


This module will require a presentation worth 60% and a 1500-2000 word essay report worth 40%

Academics involved in the delivery of this module

  • Dr Paul Foster (Deputy Programme Lead, Module Lead, and Lecturer in Molecular Endocrinology) – University of Birmingham.
  • Prof. Nick Barnes (Programme Lead and Professor of Neuropharmacology) – University of Birmingham
  • Catherine Brady (Chief Operating Officer) – Celentyx)

How to register/apply

Contact our Course Administrator:
(0121) 415 8118