Scientists of great repute once believed that illness was caused by miasma (foul-smelling air), if not by an imbalance among the four humours. Humanity’s thirst for medical knowledge has followed a fascinating course, first meandering then accelerating dramatically. Technology has enabled us to zoom in on tinier and tinier components of health – from cells right down to gene editing. Our ceaseless curiosity and centuries of observing and documenting have led to ever more refined methods of pedagogy now unique to the medical field. Accordingly, this wealth of accumulated and increasingly accurate knowledge has been passed down, from one generation to the next.
Through history, the education and training of medical and research professionals became progressively more systematic and comprehensive. Today, it is one of the most strictly regulated careers. Doctors and clinical researchers are subject to rigorous training and continuous professional updates to keep abreast of trends, developments, and their expanding duties. For certain roles, such as that of the principal investigator of a trial, qualifications required are delineated to the very detail. Consequently, organisations and institutions, such as clinical trial units (CTUs) at university hospitals and medical faculties, bear a tremendous responsibility: to develop, teach, and mentor the next generation of highly qualified clinical researchers.