Clinical Research Practitioners and their contribution to clinical research delivery
Clinical Research Practitioners (CRPs) are a vital part of the research workforce. They work in research delivery roles that have a patient/participant facing element within clinical environments and other health and social care settings. These roles include Clinical Studies Officer, Research Practitioner, Clinical Trials Practitioner, Clinical Trials Officer, among others. CRPs are not required to be part of a statutory professional register in order to perform their role.
The number of CRPs in the research workforce has increased in response to the expansion of clinical research activity over the last few years. Developing the professional identity of this group, recognising their expertise and enabling effective professional development is a strategic priority for the research workforce.
Development of the CRP Directory and Accredited Register
In early 2018, the Department of Health (now the Department of Health and Social Care) gave approval for the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) to develop the professional identity of Clinical Research Practitioners (CRPs) in a staged approach. The CRP Directory was launched in September 2018 as a foundation for the development of the CRP community. The Directory has almost 700 individuals listed in January 2021.
National working group activity brought together CRPs, Clinical Research Nurses and Workforce Leaders to shape the Scope of Practice and the Standards of Proficiency in an iterative, co-creative development process, with expert input from the AHCS. These documents were shared through a wider consultation in the autumn of 2019 and feedback from this influenced the final submission documents put forward to the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) for review in December 2019. The PSA gave its approval for the in April 2020 and following pilot activity the Register is ready for launch in early 2021.