FAQ

About ECRIN

Membership and eligibility for ECRIN support

Support services: What ECRIN does and does not do

About ECRIN

Q. What is ECRIN?

A. The European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (ECRIN) is a sustainable, non-profit, distributed infrastructure with the legal status of a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC). 

ECRIN supports multinational clinical trials in Europe, which provide increased access to patients, resources and expertise. In particular, ECRIN supports investigators and sponsors in the planning and design of clinical trials, and provides services for the management of multinational trials. ECRIN is also involved in activities to enhance the ability of European sponsors to successfully conduct multi-country clinical research (e.g. tools/database development, data centre certification).

Moreover, ECRIN is involved in infrastructure development projects that aim to further develop the European clinical research community and facilitate multinational trials.

Q. Where is ECRIN based and where does it work?

A. ECRIN’s coordination office (or headquarters) is based in Paris, which is where the ‘core team’ is located. It has one or more European correspondents (EuCos, see below) based in each member or observer country. In addition to its member and observer countries, ECRIN works with many countries in Europe, as well as internationally. For more information on ECRIN's organisation and funding, click here

Q. Who are EuCos?

A. European correspondents (EuCos) are clinical research experts with extensive knowledge of the national and European clinical research landscape. They manage the clinical trial portfolio and coordinate with the national scientific partner with support from the Paris-based core team.

Each country hosts a EuCo, who usually is seconded to ECRIN by the national scientific partner (see below).

Q. Who are the national scientific partners? 

A. Each national scientific partner is a network of academic clinical trial units (CTUs) located at or affiliated to national universities and hospitals. For the list of ECRIN’s national scientific partners in its member and observer countries, click here

Membership and eligibility for ECRIN support

Q. Who are ECRIN’s members and observers?

A. ECRIN members and observers are currently countries. As of 2019, ECRIN has nine member countries (Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Portugal and Spain) and three observer countries (Poland, Slovakia and Switzerland). In each country there is one national scientific partner (see above).

Q. What trial services do member and observer countries receive and at what cost? 

A. ECRIN members and observers can benefit from the full range of ECRIN services for multinational trial preparation, protocol evaluation and/or trial management. Advice and information are provided free of charge by the ECRIN core team and European correspondents (EuCos). Trial management services are provided at not-for-profit rates to academic sponsors. 

In particular, ECRIN charges the non-profit cost of the distributed services carried out by the national scientific partner (in its member / observer countries). This budget is then redistributed to the final service provider (i.e. the national scientific partner). 

Q. Are all trials in member and observer countries automatically eligible for ECRIN support? 

A. No. To be eligible for ECRIN support, projects must involve at least two member or observer countries; projects must be reviewed and approved by ECRIN (Collaboration Committee). 

Q. Can ECRIN support a trial that is coordinated by a country that is not a member or observer? 

A. Yes, ECRIN can provide support services even if the trial’s coordinating country is not a member or observer, provided that the project involves at least two member and observer countries. In this case, one of ECRIN’s EuCos or the core team is assigned to the trial.

However, countries that are not members or observers cannot benefit from support for trial preparation. 

Q. What is the cost of ECRIN services for multinational clinical trials?

A. ECRIN charges for the services provided to projects supported by central funding (typically H2020 or IMI), and the cost of coordination (core team and the European correspondents). 

Support services: What ECRIN does and does not do

Q. Does ECRIN write the funding application for multinational clinical trials?

A. No, ECRIN does not write the actual application. However, ECRIN can provide advice, particularly in its area of expertise: the organisation and management of multinational clinical trials. 

Q. Does ECRIN act as a trial investigator or sponsor?

A. No, it provides support services only to the project coordinator or sponsor during the preparation / start-up phase, and then to the sponsor during implementation. 

Q. What services does ECRIN provide during trial implementation? Is ECRIN the direct service provider? Are these services decentralised and/or centralised?

A. ECRIN provides operational services for multinational trial management, supporting academic or SME sponsors in fulfilling the sponsors’ obligations in foreign countries. ECRIN is not the direct service provider, but delegates the provision of services to CTUs in the national partner networks. ECRIN coordinates these services through its network of EuCos, with the EuCo located in the sponsor’s and principal investigator’s country acting as the coordinating EuCo for the trial. 

Some of these services are decentralised, and delivered simultaneously by local CTUs in each of the participating countries. Other services are centralised, and delivered by one single CTU for the whole trial.