The UKCRF Network identify, develop, coordinate, and share best practice that supports effective and efficient Clinical Research Facility (CRF) operational delivery in experimental medicine studies.

Theme Activities

The Theme supports the development and communication of best practice for CRFs in the following ways:

Sharing Operational Practice

The Network shares CRF operational best practice to support CRFs and is a forum for CRFs to request and provide support to other facilities.

Maintain Effective Communication Systems

The following platforms can be used to communicate CRF news, events, knowledge and experience with the UKCRF Network. Please send news, events and blog ideas you would like to share to [email protected].


Develop and Share Best Practice Tools / Guidance

The Theme develops guidance and tools to support operational best practice, particularly in the areas of Study Intensity and Laboratory Management. 

Tools and guidance developed independently by CRFs can be added to our list of documents and shared with the Network by emailing [email protected]. All requests will be reviewed by the relevant Theme Group.

A full list of UKCRF Network tools and guidance can be found here and access to these documents can be found on the UKCRF Network Portal.

Theme Groups

Theme Groups comprise teams of expert individuals able to offer advice and guidance on their specialist areas, helping the UKCRF Network to achieve its objectives. For the Achieving Operational Excellence theme, the Theme Groups are:

Intensity Theme Group

Group Chair: Lisa Berry, NIHR Southampton CRF
Deputy Chair: Derval Reidy, St James Hospital CRF, Dublin

The Intensity Theme Group has developed the Study Intensity Tool to assist research teams in assessing research workload and inform workforce planning decision. The tool accurately predicts the Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) staffing numbers required for the efficient delivery of a specific clinical study, and has new functionality based on user feedback along with a standalone Study Intensity Tool for paediatric facilities.

The tool is available to download from the UKCRF Network Portal (for access to the Portal please contact us). The groups delivers monthly web-based training for beginners on how to use the tool as well as monthly Q&A sessions. For more information please visit our training page by clicking here.

Laboratory Managers Theme Group

Group Chair: Helen Smith, NIHR Birmingham CRF

The Laboratory Managers Group (LMG) offer support for the implementation of robust laboratory practices that meet the standards and requirements of governing bodies, such as the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The LMG have produced tools and guidance documents relating to laboratory equipment, standard operating procedures, chain of custody forms, deviation forms, clinical trial checklists, mandatory temperature monitoring systems and health and safety documents. Details of the tools can be found on the ‘our work’ page.

CRF Managers Theme Group

Group Chair: Sally Batham, NIHR Leicester CRF
Deputy Chair: Caroline Leech, NIHR Manchester CRF

The CRF Managers Theme group provides a constructive forum for CRF Managers to:

  • share knowledge and expertise
  • provide up to date information on best practice
  • share future plans, tools and resources available as they are produced by other Theme Groups

For effective communication a distribution email address has been set up for the Group use. New CRF Managers can contact [email protected] to be added to this list and introduced to the group.

More details about the Theme Groups can be found on the UKCRF Network Portal

If you would like to join any of our Theme Groups please contact us.