Clinical Research Associates

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Clinical research associates (CRAs) organise and administer clinical trials of new or current drugs in order to assess the benefits and risks of using them.

Clinical research associates help to organise and monitor the different phases of clinical trials of drugs. Key responsibilities include:

  • writing drug trial methodologies (procedures)

  • identifying and briefing appropriate trial investigators (clinicians)

  • setting up and disbanding trial study centres

  • designing trial materials and supplying study centres with sufficient quantities

  • providing clinicians with instructions on how to conduct the trials

  • collecting and authenticating data collection forms (commonly known as case report forms)

  • monitoring progress throughout the duration of the trial

  • writing reports


Qualifications and training required


To become a CRA it is necessary to hold an undergraduate or postgraduate qualification in nursing, life sciences (for example, biology, microbiology, toxicology, biochemistry, or pharmacology) or medical sciences (such as physiology, immunology, medicine, anatomy or pharmacy).


Key skills for clinical research associates


  • Commercial awareness

  • A logical and inquisitive mind

  • Good organisational abilities

  • Excellent numerical, written and verbal communication skills

  • Confidence


Typical employers of clinical research associates


  • Pharmaceutical companies

  • Clinical contract agencies or houses

  • Hospital academic departments


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How to become a Clinical Research Associate?

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