. . . and heading south to the Sunshine State! This years marks our 11th straight year participating in the Summit for Clinical Ops Executives (SCOPE) – an event that always pushes the industry forward with thoughtful, informed dialogue.
This year SCOPE takes place February 18-21, 2020 in Orlando. The summit features four days of in-depth discussions in twenty different conferences, three plenary keynote sessions, the annual Participant Engagement Awards, and the ever-popular interactive breakout discussions.
We recently sat down with the summit's organizers – Micah Lieberman, Kaitlin Kelleher, and Marina Filshtinsky – to learn more about SCOPE and what they have in store for this year’s event. And don’t worry – if you haven’t attended SCOPE before, they share a few insights on why you might want to consider it.
What sets SCOPE apart from other events?
Micah: I think there are a lot of good events and focus groups out there, but I feel that SCOPE is unique. It is content-driven, and our speakers and topics are a cut above. Our participants are in leadership positions and driving change in the clinical research industry. To have all of these people in one place, at one time, is very hard to do. People are so busy, especially executives in the life sciences and tech industries, so to sequester everyone for four days of deep dives, discussion, networking, deal making, learning, and bonding is really unusual. We all need more of this.
Kaitlin: I really believe that the community at SCOPE sets it apart – people choose to come back to us year after year and really build upon the conversations from the year prior. There is always so much energy on site. It’s a special thing to be a part of!
Marina: I think our company has created a content-focused culture. At SCOPE, we cover the intersection between innovation in clinical research, operations, and business. We do a pretty good job bringing it all together.
What is unique about this year’s summit?
Micah: There are always new components and topics. If you are a regular attendee, you will notice that on Day 1 we once again have the Participant Engagement Awards, but you will also see that we have a new “SCOPE China Clinical Development Partnering Forum” and a new “SCOPE Scientific Symposium.”
Kaitlin: I’m particularly excited about a new track I put together this year: Medical Device Clinical Trial Operations and Regulations. We’ve gotten a lot of feedback over the years from the device folks who attend. They want content specifically for them, and I’m thrilled to be able to do that this year. We’re tackling the new EU MDR, post- vs. pre-market studies, risk-based monitoring specifically for device trials, and the role of clinical data in bringing medical devices to market.
Marina: I am focused a lot on AI and the use of RWD in clinical trial planning and ops. So I think these sessions are really exciting. There are too many sessions to list. That is the challenge at SCOPE, choosing which room to jump into.
What are you looking forward to the most at this year’s summit?
Micah: The people. Once on site, I feel like I am at a friend’s wedding or a reunion. It is a really inspirational group of people and many of them I have known for years. And some of my greatest insights have come from different interactions throughout the conference – in a session, a conversation over tea, while running to another session, or when chatting with a new vendor in the Exhibit Hall.
Kaitlin: It absolutely comes down to the people every year. It’s amazing to not only witness what feels like a big family reunion, but to also feel like a part of it. I’m truly inspired by the speakers and attendees who share their insights and progress toward their goals.
Marina: On Day 1, we have the new events. I’m always nervous how they will go, but I am also very excited to be in the room and listen to the discussions.
SCOPE is now in its 11th year. Can you reflect on the summit’s evolution? Do you have a favorite memory?
Micah: I think some of the more powerful memories relate to two special people, friends who passed away recently and who we honored at SCOPE – Christine Pierre of SCRS and Jerry Matczak of Eli Lilly, two people who were early supporters of SCOPE and of me personally. They were both amazing people who had a big impact on clinical research, and we were lucky to have them playing such a big role.
Kaitlin: I’ve been a part of SCOPE for five years now, so I got to join SCOPE when it was really coming into its own. Micah is such a presence in this community, and my favorite memory so far has been honoring him at the 10th annual SCOPE and watching him lead the entire conference in the wave during a keynote!
Marina: I think the year or two that we felt SCOPE had made the jump, and it was so much easier for us to call up and engage people who did not know us. People are busy and they have choices, so when they accept our call and express excitement in creating a session, we really appreciate that.
What are the topics or issues that you think will drive the conversation?
Micah: There are always new components and topics, so if you look at the different conferences, plenary keynote sessions, the annual Participant Engagement Awards, and the breakout discussions, you will find something NEW in every one of them. I would say that more and more technology and analytics to support decision-making has become a universal theme. At the same time, focusing on the patient and not losing sight of the endgame and end customer has always been a big focus at SCOPE, and I know it will be again this year.
Kaitlin: Data is definitely top of mind. We all want to make decisions faster and feel more confident in those choices. Analytics, technologies, platforms, and new tools are all making their way into everyday workflows and it’s exciting to see the progress.
Marina: Big data, analytics, digital biomarkers and endpoints, biomarker advances, RWD/RWE, AI, and emerging tech. This is not a complete list, just where I am focusing a lot and where I am likely sitting in sessions this year.
For someone who hasn’t attended SCOPE yet, why would you recommend it?
Micah: Whether you are new to your job or an experienced pro, SCOPE is a rich environment for learning, networking, finding partners, and checking out tech/suppliers. After four days at SCOPE you will return to your office with practical and aspirational thinking that will help you and your team. SCOPE is a unique event, and I think coming back again and again creates even more value.
Kaitlin: SCOPE offers so much content and in so many formats. There really is something for everyone. Even though the conference has grown, it still feels like an intimate event where folks get a chance to meet new people, engage with partners and colleagues, and walk away with actionable knowledge. And we have a lot of fun in the process!
Marina: SCOPE is about innovation and how to really think ahead, but it is also about implementation and how to get things done TODAY. If you are in clinical research and want to really take the next step and meet new people, this is the place.