Duke Clinical Research Institute Reviews | Glassdoor.ca

Duke Clinical Research Institute Reviews

Updated Feb 4, 2020

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2.4
25%
Recommend to a Friend
42%
Approve of CEO
Duke Clinical Research Institute Interim Executive Director Lesley Curtis, PhD
Lesley Curtis, PhD
9 Ratings
Pros
  • "9 to 5 job with great work life balance(in 32 reviews)

  • "DCRI is a great company to work for(in 31 reviews)

Cons
  • "The DCRI launched a strategic planning effort in response to changes occurring across the clinical research industry(in 26 reviews)

  • "Upper management had this bright idea to build a new building in downtown Durham(in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. "Horrible management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Business Development Representative in Durham, NC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Duke Clinical Research Institute full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Good benefits good 403 b and vacatio

    Cons

    No business plan For growth

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    Duke Clinical Research Institute2020-02-04

    Duke Clinical Research Institute Response

    February 11, 2020DCRI

    Thank you for sharing your input. We agree that as a part of Duke and the School of Medicine, DCRI offers a robust array of benefits, not the least of which is very flexible work options! We’re currently implementing a comprehensive strategic plan that launched last year, which includes new offerings for areas of growth in clinical research, such as pragmatic trials and studies, and digital health solutions. The DCRI is pivoting to meet the needs of our sponsors in this new decade, and we’re excited about our future. We also remain deeply committed to our mission to develop and share knowledge through our clinical research innovation, and to our unique model of uniting the world’s top clinician/physicians with a deep bench of talented operations teams who are dedicated to our ultimate goal—improving patient care.

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  2. Helpful (4)

    "From authoring THE textbook on clinical research, to becoming an MBA case study. Look elsewhere for your next job."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Management in Durham, NC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Duke Clinical Research Institute full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Duke’s 403-b employer retirement contributions are attractive. The ability to work with Duke faculty on leading edge science can be very rewarding.

    Cons

    #1. DCRI's rainmakers have left the building. The key faculty members who attracted profitable industry-sponsored research a decade ago are no longer with the DCRI. Without a significant mix of high-margin commercial research projects, the DCRI’s business model is not sustainable – more layoffs are inevitable. #2. Minimal investment over the past ten years in modern information technology and automation. Without a war chest to make the necessary improvements, nor an organization willing to change - the DCRI will continue to fall further behind its growing list of competitors. #3. A government heavy revenue stream is unsustainable. When the United States’ federal deficit hawks reawaken, or the current administration’s mission to de-fund spending on science reaches the NIH – the flow of government funds will dry up. Underbidding government work in order to keep the doors open is not a sound business strategy, long-term underbidding is unsustainable. #4. The DCRI naiveté. Statements like: “The DCRI launched a strategic planning effort in response to changes occurring across the clinical research industry.” Other CROs are doing very well financially and have been keeping pace with the changing market, they are hiring, not laying off. #5. The DCRI’s operating model is based on a twenty-year old direct labor pricing model. The world has changed; direct labor is no longer the primary cost driver in the age of digital research. A revenue model based solely on direct labor costs cannot make the necessary investments in technology to be competitive in the digital world - further evidence of an unsustainable business model. #6. The DCRI is a career killer. Don’t accept lower pay to get your foot in the door, you will be stuck in the same position for eternity, getting 2% annual increases for as long as you stick it out. Promotions will be very rare events in a collapsing organization.

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    Duke Clinical Research Institute2020-01-26

    Duke Clinical Research Institute Response

    January 29, 2020DCRI

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Understandably, we disagree with your outlook for DCRI’s future, yet we appreciate your passion. As an academic research organization (ARO), we pride ourselves on working in a mission-based institute that is shaped by more than 125 dedicated faculty who develop clinical research based on the chronic diseases they treat each day at our hospital and clinics. The world’s largest commercial pharmaceutical companies and federal health institutes rely on the DCRI as a trusted partner to lead the way—taking the first steps—in how clinical research should be done. We get to work on some of the most forward-thinking and interesting research being conducted today; we have the opportunity to test innovative methods, especially in the areas of real-word evidence and pragmatic approaches. We are especially proud of the work we do on government grants, which is some of the most rewarding work our teams get to lead. It’s in this spirit that we fully understand that an ARO is not for everyone, but it is for those who approach each day with an unwavering belief that we can change patients’ lives, no matter the challenges we face in the day-to-day design and implementation of clinical trials and studies. Finally, we’re not alone. The DCRI is a part of the Duke School of Medicine and Duke’s larger health system. This association provides great benefits and flexibility, as well as a large playing field for finding ways to advance your career. Again thank you for taking time to share your thoughts and we wish you well in your career.

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  3. Helpful (1)

    "Poor Leadership"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Department Head in Durham, NC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Duke Clinical Research Institute full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Dedicated researchers with world class clinicians. Excellent opportunity to make a difference in research that improves health.

    Cons

    Poor leadership and no support from School of Medicine brass. No one held accountable when fraud occurs.

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    Duke Clinical Research Institute2019-12-09

    Duke Clinical Research Institute Response

    December 18, 2019DCRI

    Thank you for your input. We first need to address your mention of “fraud” in your content posted on Glassdoor. Duke and the DCRI place research integrity as its top priority. Any individual having reason to believe that research misconduct has possibly occurred must report the matter to the misconduct review officer (MRO), their department chair or division chief, dean or other appropriate institutional official. The contact is Donna Kessler, Ph.D., Research Integrity Officer, Misconduct Review Officer, (919) 668-5115, donna.kessler@duke.edu. Concerns about research misconduct also can be reported through the Integrity Line at 1-800-826-8109. The Integrity Line is a telephone hotline open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For general information on integrity in research at Duke, please also see the website dosi.duke.edu. To address your comments about leadership, we are actively engaged with our top level of leaders to improve our skills in team and client leadership. As you may have heard, the DCRI is making many improvements as part of its effort to transform for the future. We’re excited about the changes taking place here that will ensure we remain a leader in clinical research design and to ensure we continue to serve our mission each day. We are proud of our world-class physician-clinicians and the DCRI’s impact on improving health for all through innovative clinical research.

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  4. Helpful (1)

    "Poor Leadership, Unclear Vision, Undervalued Staff"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
     
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Duke Clinical Research Institute

    Pros

    There is a massage chair. All other perks are Duke perks, they aren’t specific to DCRI.

    Cons

    Poor Leadership. Every problem is solved by committee and every committee is filled with the same visionaries who drove this institution into the ground. Buzzwords are thrown around like candy from a parade float, but nothing really changes. There is no accountability among leadership for the decline of this once great institution. Unclear Vision. It is difficult to understand how this institution will innovate new clinical research methods when they struggle to execute traditional trial designs. Undervalued Staff. DCRI laid off ~100 employees this summer due to an opearating deficit and now they miraculously have the budget to hire and promote again. Meanwhile, much of the top talent have left the building. The remaining staff are treated like third-class citizens while the faculty walk on water. Only faculty are eligible for “incentives” for their “thought leadership.” Staff career development is virtually ignored. Everything the staff does is to bolster the illustrious faculty-even when they are cutting corners and don’t know what they are doing. It is the most unrewarding work environment and staff morale reflects this. Anyone who comes to work here and doesn’t heed the abysmal reviews only has themselves to blame.

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    Duke Clinical Research Institute2019-12-27

    Duke Clinical Research Institute Response

    January 23, 2020DCRI

    Thank you for sharing your input; we hear your disappointment in your experience here. As the largest ARO in the world, and the only one with significant operational capabilities, the DCRI is unique. With that, we are keenly aware of how important it is to carefully manage our faculty and operations partnerships, recognizing that it’s the unique union of these groups that make the DCRI able to both develop the next generation of clinical research methodologies and find new paths to implement our innovative thought leadership. Sometimes, that makes for a bumpy road. But always, as we have done for the past 30+ years, we work together to deliver on sharing knowledge that changes patient care--our mission. In the past year, the DCRI has developed and is undertaking a new strategic plan, one that will assure that we continue to lead the way in bringing new ideas and methods to clinical research. Our sponsors, both federal and commercial, rely on the DCRI to do this cutting-edge work. Change is often difficult, and we are confident that our vision and strategic plan for new services and new approaches, along with faculty and staff committed to our mission, are what our sponsors, partners, and collaborators are seeking. As part of Duke, DCRI offers a robust array of traditional benefits to our employees such as medical care, dental care, retirement, time away, and flexible work options. In addition, our employees are afforded a host of learning opportunities and a wide variety of family-friendly and cultural benefits, as part of the Duke community. Again, we appreciate your input.

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  5. "Hard Fulfilling Work"

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    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Durham, NC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Duke Clinical Research Institute full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Leadership, work/ home life balance, benefits

    Cons

    Systems are a little outdated

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    Duke Clinical Research Institute2019-10-25

    Duke Clinical Research Institute Response

    October 30, 2019DCRI

    Thank you for sharing your feedback. We are pleased to hear you are enjoying a great work/life balance and the wonderful benefits Duke has to offer. DCRI prides itself on building strong teams with leaders who believe in our mission and support their staff, we are glad to hear this has been your experience. We couldn’t agree more, listening to our employees and hearing their feedback is crucial to our mission and work we do every day to improve the lives of patients around the world by working on cutting-edge research.

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  6. Helpful (4)

    "Work culture is detrimental to mental health"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Executive Assistant in Durham, NC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Duke Clinical Research Institute full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Some staff became like family

    Cons

    When people leave management will pile additional work on you. You never receive praise and are made to feel that you are the lucky one to be working there.

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    Duke Clinical Research Institute2019-10-10

    Duke Clinical Research Institute Response

    October 23, 2019DCRI

    Thank you for your input and for your years of service at the DCRI. We appreciate your contribution in supporting our faculty and operations teams on our studies. We want to acknowledge that earlier this year the DCRI made some staffing changes in your area to consolidate our executive assistant support in order to ensure that our faculty and operations executives have the right administrative support for their needs. We also have re-committed to sharing resources across the DCRI, which means our teams have both the opportunity to grow in new areas and also may have additional responsibilities to manage in order to ensure we are optimizing staff time on our clinical research projects. We’re sorry to hear that you may not have received recognition for your work, as we know first-hand the importance of each and every employee at the DCRI in contributing to our mission, and we strive to ensure they know of our appreciation for their work.

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  7. Helpful (7)

    "Terrible place to work — more layoffs!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Duke Clinical Research Institute full-time

    Pros

    Compensation and work/life balance are acceptable

    Cons

    In-fighting amongst senior leadership; bullying culture created by physicians; senior leadership lacking in leadership skills; lack of commitment to any real change

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    Duke Clinical Research Institute2019-08-06

    Duke Clinical Research Institute Response

    August 14, 2019DCRI

    We appreciate your input on Glassdoor. We want to first address your reference to bullying. As you know, Duke University has clear policies that guide our behaviors. The DCRI does not condone any behavior that constitutes bullying. We hope that you contacted your HR representative in any instance where this may have occurred. Second, since posts on Glassdoor remain evergreen, we do want to clarify for our readers who might read this post in the future that there are no additional layoffs planned at the DCRI at this time. In terms of real change occurring at the DCRI, we are actively transforming our services and offerings to ensure that we are distinctive and relevant for our sponsors for the future, and we are ushering in new ways of doing things as a result. These new approaches include initiatives to improve operations at the DCRI, with a strong commitment to create faculty (physician) and operations partnerships in all that we do and to support our senior leaders in improving their management skills. The DCRI has a long history of leading the way in clinical research. Sponsors rely on our innovative, entrepreneurial and collaborative approach to discovering new ways to conduct clinical research. And the industry relies on our mission to share knowledge to help inform research methodologies and new paths to patient care. We are changing things here at the DCRI, with the goal to ensure that we evolve in line with our sponsors’ research plans and needs.

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  8. Helpful (6)

    "Invest in your remaining staff"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Clinical Trial Coordinator in Durham, NC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Duke Clinical Research Institute full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    I enjoyed my first year at DCRI working with some very bright individuals with great ideas. Able to work remotely to some extent. Educational opportunities, however it needs to be very specific to position. Having said that, it has been more difficult to get approval for trainings due to DCRIs current financial situation.

    Cons

    Over the last several months, my opinion of DCRI has completely changed. While I have enjoyed the idea of working at a place attempting to be 'innovative', I think DCRI has a long way to go before they can claim this label. The projects seem chaotic in an industry where planning and execution are critical. Most Project Leaders I have work with do not lead, they manage by intimidation or they are simply not present with their project team. I suppose it may be a lack of training, tools, resources, etc, but in my experience this is one of the worst places I have experienced for project leadership. There seems to be a lot of distrust between staff and management in general right now, likely due to the recent RIF. That may be challenging for DCRI to get past, given how long that process took place, and how the working environment was allowed to spiral downward for so long.

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    Duke Clinical Research Institute2019-07-10

    Duke Clinical Research Institute Response

    July 12, 2019DCRI

    Thank you for your feedback. We are glad to receive your input, and want to acknowledge our areas for improvement. We believe your advice hits the target and is aligned with our strategic plan--allow for good ideas to come from everyone, and listen! Our focus on innovation is to ensure that the DCRI continues to play a unique role in determining how clinical research should be done--our legacy, and what sponsors need from us. There are changes afoot for the DCRI and we are excited about our future. We hope that, in the coming months, you and our colleagues will also experience the excitement we feel in shaping our future. Thank you.

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  9. Helpful (7)

    "So much untapped potential! DCRI could be THE company...But"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Clinical Research Associate in Durham, NC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Duke Clinical Research Institute full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Overall DCRI is a great place to work - the benefits are fantastic, the work/life balance and schedule flexibility is great, usually good job security/stability (aside from upcoming RIF/Layoff), numerous discounts for products and services in the Raleigh-Durham area, lots of training and development opportunities via programs and conferences offered by Duke University and the Hospital, will pay for you to attend local conferences in your field/educational reimbursement, gives you access to a lot of educational programs and entertainment and the overall company culture is supportive/friendly with lots of employee recognition- as an ARO they don't engage in a lot of the overly metric driven cut throat non-sense I have seen at CROs that lead to burn out and well paid, but demoralized and jaded staff. I give DCRI a lot of credit for doing more than most companies to foster diversity, inclusion and cohesion among staff and for encouraging fun and engagement in the work place.

    Cons

    The problem (and this is said with love) is that there is so much potential for this company to be exceptional on so many fronts, but they consistently fail to fully tap into that potential. whether it is forgetting to fully leverage the skills of their staff, taking on too many poorly organized/poorly funded and poorly written study protocols, being slow to improve and modernize work processes so that they are more efficient/less redundant and less error ridden or offering enough opportunities for EVERYONE to grow and move up the career ladder. So, many people have left simply because they hit a wall in terms of career advancement/mobility and financial compensation. I can't tell you how many times people have said "I love my co-workers, I love the company and it's mission, I don't want to leave, but they aren't utilizing me properly and I have to move on and find something where I can have an impact and grow". In the end, this leads to mostly younger people leaving, the people with advanced degrees/certifications and the people with a generally higher subset of skills and or investment in the quality of the work - and as a company, if they want innovative, new and energized staff who are going to push for and achieve bold things in the world of research (as they say), they can't continue to be OK with all of their entry level and mid-level staff who are aching for a chance to be heard and utilized leaving or staying, but languishing. The people under 35 stay for a few years (1-3), get experience or connections and then they move on because they feel like they can't implement their ideas, contribute in novel ways and or expand in their therapeutic areas of interest. What you have left over are the people who are OK with being in the same role, doing the same things for below market/ below industry pay for 30 years (which in turn suppresses the pay of everyone else when you have someone who has been in a role for 20 years and only makes $50,000/yr) and who are literally just waiting on their retirement check and the benefits duke offers for college tuition to pay for their kid's education. What you end up with are the people who are complacent and less interested in change and the big ideas DCRI has for its future. Until DCRI decides that it can do more and be more, and is willing to expand its roster of clinical research positions, expand the types of studies they take on, asks for and bids for what they are actually worth, expands its roster of therapeutic areas and works to keep the employees that are still bright eyed enough to care about the quality and direction of their work, they will continue to be a company that gets high marks for what they try to do and what they claim they to want to be, but will keep hemorrhaging the people who could be helping them make it a reality. Lastly, DCRI is unique in that they have "thought leaders" - these are doctors and other high-level professionals who are actively involved either as PIs or advisers on the trials we have. Although they are really great resources in many ways, I have also heard/seen a number of people in management and leadership positions, who's job it is to make sure that the operational/logistical aspects of the trials and the resourcing are in order, regularly find their hands tied and can't do their jobs in the most effective manner because everyone cow-tows to the thought leaders. So, to avoid office politics and fall-out, management gives into requests or wants of the thought leaders that aren't always feasible or that don't always make sense for a given trial or task...as one can imagine, this doesn't always bode well for the staff working on said trial or for management who at some point has to answer for the progress, mistakes, planning or timelines of a given trial. In the end, DCRI could have it all - they could be THE company. And I honestly hope that one day, they find a way to do just that. But at present, they seem to be OK with trying to convince people that the status quo is acceptable - that mediocre pay, decent benefits, the Duke nomenclature and the company culture outweighs being challenged, outweighs progression and outweighs making enough money to actually use all of that fabulous vacation time you've accrued...to actually take a vacation. Other "con" is paying for parking - can range from $15.00 -$200.00 per month depending on where you park/what is available/proximity to work location etc.

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    Duke Clinical Research Institute2019-05-29

    Duke Clinical Research Institute Response

    June 3, 2019Sr. Writer and Content Strategist

    Thank you for such a thoughtful response. We can tell that you really do love the DCRI. We believe the DCRI is at an inflection point that demands transformative change. That’s why, under the direction of our Interim Executive Director, Lesley Curtis, we launched a strategic planning effort in response to changes we see occurring across the clinical research industry. We are committed to being strategic, distinct, and relevant for success in the future, and staying at the forefront of innovation on behalf of our sponsors and partners. We have a new head of operations, Ty Rorick, and we know that his vision encompasses many things you highlight. We are committed to ensuring that everyone reaches their potential and has every opportunity to contribute to our mission as they grow and develop here. Our mission remains constant as we evolve to align with our sponsors’ research plans and needs, and we make changes today that will ready our teams for the future. The DCRI has always been about discovery and innovation that shapes the future, and we are committed to using every bit of potential we have to transform for the future.

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  10. Helpful (2)

    "Going through a rough patch"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Statistician 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Duke Clinical Research Institute full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    The people are awesome and the academic mission is admirable. I used to love working here.

    Cons

    There is uncertainty following the recent reduction in force. Many of the best employees are resigning due to a poorly executed RIF and lack of strategic vision for the future (despite leadership having the advice from a consulting agency and over 6 months to prior to the RIF to figure it out!) There is a lack of clear leadership and it is negatively impacting morale and productivity. Base pay is considerably lower than industry and there are no bonuses.

    Duke Clinical Research Institute2019-06-22

    Duke Clinical Research Institute Response

    June 25, 2019DCRI

    Thank you for sharing your input. The DCRI is experiencing transformation in our organization in response to change in the clinical research industry. There’s no denying it’s a challenging time, especially when we recently aligned the size of our organization with our current scope of studies and projects. Yet, we are hopeful and excited about our future. The DCRI has -- and always will -- play a unique role in determining how clinical research should be done. As an academic institute, our sponsors rely on us to break new ground and lead the way. Our strategic priorities are focused on testing new methods of research, and our leadership team is working hard to support our faculty and operational teams in finding new and improved ways to conduct clinical research. We hope that, in the coming months, you and our colleagues will also experience the excitement we feel in shaping our future. Thank you.

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