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What do Clinical Research Organisations Do?

Written by: Lucy Walters
Published on: 13 Mar 2024

What do Clinical Research Organisations Do?Clinical Research Organisations (CROs) play a crucial role in advancing medical knowledge and therapeutic innovations. As vital intermediaries between pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, healthcare professionals, and regulatory bodies, CROs help facilitate the clinical development of new drugs, devices, and treatments.

In this article, we explore the multifaceted functions of modern CROs, highlighting the significant impact they have on shaping the future of healthcare.

Project Management and Study Design

One of the key functions of CROs is to provide project management and expertise in study design, which are critical elements in ensuring the success and effectiveness of clinical trials.

CRO professionals collaborate with pharmaceutical companies, biotech firms, and academic institutions to develop comprehensive study protocols that meet regulatory requirements while maximising data quality and participant safety. They assist in selecting appropriate study sites, recruiting eligible participants, and coordinating logistics for trial implementation.

Through their deep understanding of clinical research methodologies, CROs contribute to the development of robust and well-designed studies.

Regulatory Compliance and Ethics

CROs play a vital role in ensuring compliance with regulatory guidelines and ethical perspectives throughout the clinical trial process. They possess comprehensive knowledge of local and international regulations and guidelines, such as Good Clinical Practice (GCP) and International Conference on Harmonisation (ICH) guidelines.

CRO professionals provide valuable guidance to sponsors and investigators in maintaining the highest ethical standards and adhering to regulatory requirements. By working closely with regulatory bodies, they help to streamline the approval process and ensure that trials are conducted with the utmost integrity.

Clinical Trial Operations

Clinical trial operations encompass a range of functions, including site selection, patient recruitment, data collection, monitoring, and adverse event reporting.

CROs engage in site feasibility assessments to identify suitable locations for conducting trials, considering factors such as patient population, investigator experience, and infrastructure. They work closely with investigators and study coordinators to recruit and enrol eligible participants, ensuring adherence to strict inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Throughout the trial, CRO professionals ensure data quality through meticulous monitoring and verification of study data, ensuring the accuracy and reliability of collected information. Prompt and accurate reporting of adverse events is another critical aspect of clinical trial operations, and CROs help facilitate this process through their expertise in adverse event management.


Pharmacovigilance is the process of monitoring the safety and efficacy of drugs after their approval and marketing. CROs provide pharmacovigilance services, evaluating information on adverse events, collecting data on potential drug-related risks and benefits, and assessing the safety profile or marketed drugs.

They collaborate with regulatory agencies, healthcare professionals, and patients in identifying potential safety issues, informing risk management strategies, and contributing to the overall safety of patient care.

Pharmacovigilance is a critical aspect of the post-marketing surveillance of drugs, ensuring continuous monitoring of their safety and efficacy. CROs play a significant role in pharmacovigilance, contributing to the ongoing assessment and improvement of the safety profile of marketed drugs.

Data Management and Biostatistics

The effective management and analysis of clinical trial data are essential for evaluating safety, efficacy, and other study outcomes. CROs play a crucial role in data management, employing advanced systems and methodologies to securely capture, store, and analyse large volumes of clinical data.

Their expert data managers ensure that data collected during the trial is clean, accurate, and compliant with regulatory requirements. Biostatisticians within CROs are responsible for data analysis, employing sophisticated statistical techniques to derive meaningful insights and draw conclusions from the collected data. Their expertise assists in determining the efficacy and safety of investigational treatments, supporting evidence-based decision-making.

Quality Assurance and Audit

Maintaining quality and ensuring compliance with regulatory standards is paramount in clinical research, CROs have dedicated QA and QC teams responsible for conducting internal audits, assessing compliance with industry regulations and guidelines, and identifying areas for improvement.

They implement robust quality management systems to ensure the integrity and reliability of trial data. CROs also undergo external audits by regulatory agencies to verify adherence to quality standards and regulatory requirements. These audits contribute to the overall credibility and reliability of the research conducted by CROs.

Medical Writing and Communication

The communication of trial results and the dissemination of scientific knowledge through publications and presentations are crucial aspects of clinical research.

CROs provide comprehensive medical writing services, producing high-quality scientific reports, manuscripts, and other documents in compliance with regulatory requirements and industry guidelines. Their medical writers ensure clear and concise communication of trial results, interpretation of study outcomes, and the scientific significance of research findings.

These documents contribute to the continuing education of healthcare professionals and to the public understanding of healthcare advancements.

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