The UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) has put out a second call for applications under its Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) Registration Process.

The process was introduced to help improve the quality and quantity of expertise available to carry out clinical research in the UK. It is designed to register CTUs with experience in conducting high-quality trials that are also committed to working with the UKCRC to support clinical research.

An initial call for applications went out in March 2007 and 40 CTUs successfully completed the registration process in the first round. Of that total, 26 CTUs were awarded Full Registration and 14 Provisional Registration. The latter status denotes newer or smaller Clinical Trials Units that are working towards acquiring the necessary expertise for Full Registration. CTUs with Provisional Registration may apply for Full Registration in the latest call.

The deadline for applications in the current round is 7 August 2009. The UKCRC is looking for CTUs, including collaborative groups, that centrally co-ordinate multicentre clinical trials and other well-designed studies, with overall responsibility for trial design, recruitment, data management, publicity and analysis.

Among the key competencies applicants need to demonstrate are a track record of co-ordinating multicentre clinical trials and other well-designed studies; a core team of expert staff to develop these studies; robust quality-assurance systems and processes to ensure adherence to research governance standards; sufficient resources to provide adequate and stable infrastructure as well as senior staff; and an ability to ensure continuity of the core disciplines involved.

UKCRC-registered CTUs have a national profile and can work together to share expertise, systems and knowledge, avoiding duplication of effort across trial units, the Collaboration noted.