Strengthening the Clinical Research Workforce


A stable and well-trained national clinical research workforce is crucial for successful research outcomes. However, the Australian research workforce lacks a national framework for training clinician researchers or other clinical research personnel. Clinical research coordinators (CRCs), in particular, play a pivotal role but require dedicated education and training. Recent initiatives have aimed to strengthen the clinical research workforce, but challenges persist, including short-term job insecurity and a lack of sustainable career pathways. Some overseas jurisdictions, most notably England, have moved to professionalise the clinical research workforce to address these issues. 


This project aims to identify the costs, benefits, and opportunities of professionalising the Australian clinical research coordinator workforce. The first phase involves commissioning an issues paper to explore definitions of professionalisation, aims, objectives, risks, benefits, and necessary preconditions. Subsequent workshops and webinars will engage current and former CRCs and other stakeholders to discuss professionalisation models and implications. 


A stable and trained workforce is essential for a successful clinical research sector in Australia. While training programs and competencies exist, broader strategies are needed for recruitment, retention, and capability. Professionalisation models offer potential solutions, but their benefits, risks, and opportunities require further exploration at the national level. 

Potential Objectives: 

  1. Identifying the aims, benefits and costs associated with professionalising the Australian clinical research workforce. 
  1. Understanding the steps that would be needed to professionalise the Australian CRC workforce. 
  1. Seeking current and former CRC views on the implications of professionalisation on their role and responsibilities.