10 02 2022


Day in the Life: Director of Operations at HRB CRF Cork

Written by Joanne Walsh Crowley

CRF Director of Operations and Clinical Trials in the Health Research Board (HRB) Clinical Research Facility (CRF) at University College Cork, Ireland

Posted: February 2022

A day in the life


The alarm goes off. My day starts with Mass, followed by breakfast at home with my family. I check work emails to see what has come in overnight before dropping the children to school.


I have a meeting with the director of the HRB CRF Cork (CRF-C), Professor Joe Eustace, to review our priorities for the day and discuss any emerging issues.


I have a brief call with the operations quality director at United Drug Distribution (UDD) in Dublin about new shipments of medicines that have arrived for the WHO Solidarity Ireland Clinical Trial. This is a Department of Health-sponsored trial investigating novel therapies for treatment of Covid-19.


Time for the weekly operations team meeting. We review our metrics dashboard performance of all the active studies and identify any areas where interventions are required. In addition, potential new studies are assessed, and formal go/no-go governance decision is made on whether to progress to study set up.

The CRF-C team of research nurses and research assistants are currently supporting studies across Cork University Hospital, Mercy University Hospital, University Hospital Waterford, and the South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital.


Meeting with UCC legal and Research Support Services team to review contracts for new academic clinical trials. The support the CRF-C gets from university colleagues in legal, data protection, research support services and research finance, as well as our colleagues in the College of Medicine and Health, is key.


I meet with the head of information and communications technology (ICT) for health programmes at Tyndall National Institute (TNI) and discuss and review a number of projects in the pipeline involving clinical research elements. CRF-C act as the clinical arm of TNI.


Up next is a video conference with the Department of Health, the Health Research Board and colleagues from UCC, where we review Ireland’s engagement in critical international clinical trials for Covid-19 treatments.


I respond to any emails that have come in and review my diary for the next few days. Shortly after six, the family are all home again, and we have dinner together and chat about the day.

Then the drop-offs and collections to music classes, GAA training, swimming etc begin.

Pictures: Larry Cummins