Skip to main content

What Does a Clinical Research Coordinator (CRC) Do?

Written by: Lucy Walters
Published on: 3 Apr 2024

What Does a CRC Do?A Clinical Research Coordinator (CRC) is a specialised research professional who works under the direction of a Clinical Principal Investigator (PI). They play an important role in conducting and managing clinical trials, providing outcomes that shape medical advances in areas such as preventative care, cures for diseases, and immunisations.

The CRC is primarily responsible for overseeing clinical trials or studies that test the effectiveness of new drugs or biotechnology. Their duties include sorting through applications and choosing qualified candidates, in addition to monitoring the participants’ health throughout the trial.

What are the Main Responsibilities of a Clinical Research Coordinator?

The exact responsibilities will vary from role to role, but may include:

  • Planning, coordinating, and administering clinical trials under the supervision of the Principal Investigator (PI)
  • Identifying, screening, and recruiting study participants
  • Administering informed consent, questionnaires, and surveys to participants
  • Collecting, processing, and managing patients’ clinical data and medical records
  • Monitoring participants’ health and adverse reactions during the trial
  • Ensuring all research is conducted in accordance with the study protocol, institutional policies, and regulatory guidelines
  • Documenting and submitting protocol deviation/violation reports to the appropriate management or regulatory bodies
  • Coordinating with doctors, researchers, and other healthcare professionals to ensure smooth operations of the clinical trial
  • Preparing, submitting, and maintaining Institutional Review Board (IRB) documents
  • Providing training to research staff on research protocols
  • Developing and implementing recruitment strategies
  • Assisting in writing research proposals, reports, and manuscripts
  • Maintaining strict confidentiality of all study-related information

What are the Main Benefits of Working as a Clinical Research Coordinator?

Working as CRC can be a highly rewarding career path for those with a passion for science and a dedication to improving public health. CRCs contribute to vital research that can lead to the development of new drugs, treatments, and medical devices, positively affecting the lives of countless individuals. Being at the forefront of such important work offers a deep sense of professional fulfilment and purpose.

A CRC position also offers diverse experiences in the medical field and can be a stepping stone to a variety of career opportunities. Each clinical trial brings unique challenges and learning opportunities, as well as the chance to work with multidisciplinary teams including researchers, healthcare professionals, and other industry experts.

For those seeking a career in healthcare without direct patient care responsibilities, such as nursing or doctoring, working as a CRC offers a blend of research involvement and patient interaction, often within the structural support of academic institutions, hospitals, or private companies, opening doors to career growth and specialisation within the research sector.

What Experience, Skills and Qualifications are Needed to Become a Clinical Research Coordinator?

Some of the key experience, skills, and qualifications typically required to become a CRC include:

  • Prior experience in clinical research or healthcare
  • Experience with Good Clinical Practice (GCP) and ethical guidelines for conducting clinical trials
  • Familiarity with medical terminology and clinical patient contact
  • Excellent organisational and project management skills
  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Detail-oriented with an ability to manage and process large volumes of data
  • Strong digital literacy for managing data and Electronic Health Records (EHRs)
  • Bachelor’s degree in health sciences, nursing, biology, or a related field (some large-scale or complex trials may require a master’s degree)
  • Certification as a CRC, such as the Certified Clinical Research Coordinator (CCRC) offered by the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP)
  • Familiarity with IRB procedures and regulations
  • An understanding of local, state, and federal regulatory requirements

How is the Role of a Clinical Research Coordinator Evolving?

One way the role of a CRC is evolving is with the increasing adoption of digital tools and technologies such as electronic data capture (EDC) systems, electronic patient-reported outcomes (ePRO), and telehealth services. These are transforming how clinical trials are conducted, making it possible to gather more accurate data faster, from a broader participant base, and sometimes even remotely. As a result, CRCs today must be tech-savvy, comfortable with learning and implementing new technologies, and adaptable to changing digital landscapes.

The global nature of many clinical trials and evolving regulatory requirements across different jurisdictions have made the role of CRCs more complex. They must now be well-versed in international guidelines for clinical research, such as the International Council for Harmonisation’s Good Clinical Practice (ICH-GCP) and possess a deeper understanding of ethical considerations in diverse cultural contexts. This globalisation of clinical research demands CRCs who are not only skilled in project management and patient care, but also competent in navigating international regulations and cultural sensitivities.

As clinical research continues to focus on personalised medicine and rare diseases, CRCs will play a crucial role in managing more targeted, patient-centric studies, requiring a blend of traditional skills and new competencies like data analytics and patient engagement strategies.

Search the latest Clinical Research Coordinator roles on PharmiWeb.Jobs, the leading global life science job board.