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Clinical Research Practitioners: An essential part of the team


Published: 18 February 2020

Version: 1.0 March 2020

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The NIHR and the Academy for Healthcare Science is committed to establishing an accredited register for CRPs. 

The story so far – the road to Accredited Registration

Clinical Research Practitiners (CRPs) are an essential part of research delivery teams. CRP is an umbrella title we use for a family of roles in research delivery that have a patient-facing element and where the post holder isn’t currently registered to a healthcare profession. 

These roles include Clinical Studies Officer, Research Practitioner, Clinical Trials Practitioner and Clinical Trials Officer. Working alongside nurses and others they deliver the safe, ethical and high quality clinical research care that is transforming treatment and patient care. 

CRPs bring a wealth of research knowledge and expertise that complements that of nurses and other health care professionals. Their skills and experience make for diverse and effective research delivery teams. 

An accredited register for CRPs would improve their professional identity, recognise the valuable role they play and provide a clear path for the career development of CRPs. 

We launched the CRP Directory in October 2018 as a space for CRPs to be consulted and to contribute to an application seeking registration for CRPs. Registration will be voluntary and the standards set will be similar to the high levels found in statutory regulation for nursing and other allied health professions. 

The application for accreditation has now been submitted to the Professional Standards Authority (PSA), the body that sets the standards for accredited registers of people who work in health and social care.


Clinical Practitioner Researcher and Nurse voices

Accredited registration would give us the professional identity we deserve.

Christos Tsintikidis, Clinical Research Practitioner, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust

"I always wanted to get involved in research. Research is so important in helping find new treatments and improve patient care and services. My background is community pharmacy and it has helped me in my role to understand protocols, standard operating procedures (SOPs) and how to coordinate a study. I am responsible for recruiting new patients, getting consent and informing them about studies. I capture data with integrity and confidentiality and coordinate with Principal Investigators and the trial office to ensure a study runs smoothly.

"An accredited register would make a big difference to the CRP role and how our patients and colleagues see us. At the moment, I feel that I am in a grey zone between the research nurse and office administration. Accredited registration would give us the professional identity we deserve, standardised training and ensure we speak with one voice."

CRPs make for a more cohesive, diverse and multiskilled team.

Natasha Muzengi, Lead Research Nurse, Guys and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust

"As a research nurse on a professional register I am aware of my scope of practice and it gives me a sense of belonging and respect. This is important to me and other nurses and I’m sure an accredited register for CRPs would make them feel the same. In my experience, CRPs come from a science background which complements the skills of clinical research nurses."

An accredited register would provide a clearer picture of career progression.

Polly Bidwell, Clinical Studies Officer, Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust

"I’ve been working as a clinical studies officer for 12 years. I work with clinical studies officers, nurses and support staff. We all bring different skills. I don’t feel I have a particular professional identity. An accredited register would be a positive move. It would give people in the wider research arena a better idea of our skillset and what we can do."

I really enjoy seeing how nurses and CRPs work well together. It’s like magic!

Karen Palmer, Research Nurse Manager, Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust

"Clinical Research Practitioners bring diversity to our team. They see things from a different perspective, they may recruit in a different way and they may support participants in a different way. That diversity within the team can only strengthen the way we deliver clinical research in the UK. As the research delivery workforce evolves I think a register will really help us all to understand what it means to be a CRP. When there's more awareness of what people's roles are and the skills they bring then there will be more understanding and more respect.

"I really enjoy seeing how nurses and CRPs work well together; sharing their knowledge and experiences. We all bring different things to the table and it creates this beautiful learning environment. When you see how people support each other to get the best out of each other for their patients and their participants it's like magic."


Find out more. Join our growing community of CRPs

The CRP Directory is a community of Clinical Research Practitioners all playing a part in shaping their professional identity and practice. 

The Directory is open to those who are:

  • working in a research delivery role that involves direct contact with patients and activities in clinical environments or other health and social care research settings
  • not registered with a healthcare profession.

Join our growing community to stay updated on our application for accredited registration, connect with fellow CRPs and access the CRP Community forum on NIHR Learn.

Apply to join the CRP Directory.

For more information contact: