Clinical Trial Landscape in Ireland and Clinical Research Networks
Clinical Research Networks (CRNs) are defined as networks of clinicians interested in a particular disease or topic who are devoted to the improved care of patients and health services through research in that particular topic. The existence of these networks indicates critical mass of research activity in a given thematic area and some of them often involve other actors such as academics, scientists, patients, professional bodies. In Ireland, CRNs are typically funded by the Health Research Board, state funding or other research funding agency, membership fees, fundraising or via an associated charity and philanthropic or other funding.
The Health Research Board National Clinical Trials Office (HRB NCTO) provides support for clinical trials undertaken in the university associated Clinical Research Facilities/ Centres (CRF/Cs). The HRB NCTO services and activities includes being the central point of contact for sponsors looking to start a trial, streamlined national process for feasibility studies, improve study start-up timelines for study set up, recruitment tracking and collation of metrics, provision of advice in relation to regulatory pathways and research ethical approval and audit and monitoring among others. The CRF/Cs are committed to providing state-of-the-art facilities and equipment to facilitate research in partnership with academia and the commercial sector, in order to gain a better understanding of how drugs work on humans and to develop life-enhancing therapies through clinical trials and basic research.