In order for clinical research to be meaningful, researchers need to be able to complete their study within an acceptable timescale. They also need to be able to meet recruitment targets – the number of patients or other participants required to make the study feasible. These factors are important for all researchers, but particularly so for researchers working on commercial life- sciences studies, as the UK must compete with other countries to host studies that could benefit NHS patients.
Many factors can affect a researcher’s ability to deliver a study effectively – and not all of them are within the control of the Clinical Research Network. However, there are a number of areas which we directly affect or influence, which can improve a researcher’s ability to deliver a clinical study “to time and target”. These include:
- Introducing effective systems to reduce the length of time it takes for a study to receive NHS permission to start
- Putting a broad-based infrastructure in place, so that researchers have access to the facilities and research support personnel they need to carry out the study activities
- Being able to direct researchers towards local patient populations and research capacity, so that participant targets can be achieved
The Clinical Research Network measures its effectiveness against a set of high level objectives. In broad terms, these objectives include:
- Increasing the proportion of Portfolio studies that deliver in line with the study’s planned delivery time and patient recruitment targets
- Increasing the number of participants recruited into studies on our Portfolio
- Reducing the time it takes to get NHS permission for a study to start
- Reducing the length of time it takes to recruit the first participant onto Portfolio studies
- Increasing the number of life-sciences studies on our Portfolio
- Increasing the proportion of NHS trusts and general medical practices that are involved in delivering our Portfolio
- Increasing the number of participants recruited into Dementias and Neurodegeneration (DeNDRoN) studies on our Portfolio
The Clinical Research Network reports on its performance on a quarterly basis. These performance reports can be found below.
For 2016/17 the CRN Coordinating Centre produced an 'Our year' document, which highlights some of the key achievements from each directorate.