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Research Assistant

Department: Centre for Contact Lens Research Effective Date: August, 2011


35 hr/wk

Reports to: Administrator of the Centre for Contact Lens Research (CCLR)

General Accountability

This position is accountable to the Administrator of the Centre for Contact Lens Research (CCLR).  The primary function of the Research Assistant is to assist CCLR research personnel with the management and dispensing of study supplies according to strict protocol requirements and good clinical practice guidelines.

Nature and Scope

The Centre for Contact Lens Research is a semi-autonomous unit located in the School of Optometry which works in partnership with the contact lens industry to provide both clinical and basic research in order to understand the anterior portion of the eye and its response to contact lens wear.  The CCLR has a major role in the support of the development of contact lenses and related products and is world renowned for its research in this area.

The Research Assistant is responsible for ordering and accounting for all study supplies from start to end of each CCLR study.  This includes dispensing the products to study participants according to protocol requirements and instructing the participants on their use.

The incumbent is required to work closely with the other Research Assistant to divide the workload equally and ensure that each can act as a backup for the other.  The Research Assistant also works very closely with the research personnel, for whom they are providing a service and with the Resource Schedulers and Receptionist to ensure that the flow of study participants occurs smoothly.  Overseeing of the day to day duties of part time Research Assistants is also the responsibility of the Research Assistant.

The dispensing of study supplies is critical to the success of the CCLR.  Often times the investigators are masked to the products that the participants are using and it is the responsibility of the Research Assistant to ensure the products dispensed are the correct ones.  If they aren’t, the data becomes useless.  The importance of this responsibility is compounded by the fact that there can be 10 to 15 studies going on at any one time and all with different products and requirements.  Added to this challenge is the responsibility of the Research Assistant to manage inventory according to good clinical practice and sponsor audit guidelines for each study.

Statistical Data

The CCLR currently has an operating budget in excess of $4 million and completes at least 35 studies per year.  It is currently housed in a 5,000 sq ft facility and supports the following:

            8 faculty members

            20 research personnel

            16 staff members

            12 graduate students

            Numerous co-op/undergraduate students

In addition to internal School of Optometry and University of Waterloo departments/personnel, the CCLR currently works with 10 of the leading world wide contact lens companies as well as other academic institutions involved in contact lens research.  It maintains a database of at least 3,000 potential study participants with approximately 2,000 participants enrolled in various studies annually.

Specific Accountabilities

1. To dispense study materials and instruct participants on their use and care according to procedures specified in the study protocol and following multiple randomisation schedules for each study.


2.    To consult with research personnel prior to each study to determine what supplies will be required and how the inventory needs to be controlled, then to maintain an accurate log of supplies dispensed, label appropriately and maintain a documented inventory of all study supplies on hand reporting back to sponsors upon completion of the study with an official account of all products used.

3.    To participate in pre-study training from sponsors and answer to study sponsor auditors on the management of study supplies.

4.    To collect and record data from study participants which may include pregnancy tests, temperature controls, eye drop and drug use and data from specific instrumentation including:  auto refractor/keratometer, lensometer and other lens verification equipment.

5.      To advise study participants of their rights and responsibilities during the study and obtain their informed consent.

6.      To oversee completion of day to day tasks for part time Research Assistants.

7.    To assist research personnel with data collection in procedures such as meibum collection and lens cytology as needed and according to research protocol requirements

8.    To perform computing tasks as required using Microsoft Office.

9.    To perform other duties from time to time as assigned by the Administrator, other members of the Senior Admin Team or other members of the CCLR.

Working Conditions