CROs & Clinical Trials: Roles & Responsibilities

Contract research organizations (CROs) are an integral part of the clinical trials process. With them, it is possible to conduct clinical studies and bring new treatments to market. These organizations provide various services, from study design to data management, biostatistics, and much more. In this blog post, we will explore what CROs are, their different types of responsibilities in clinical trials, and how they help ensure the safety of participants.

What Is A CRO?

A CRO’s (contract research organizations) is a company that provides support to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in the form of research services outsourced on a contract basis. CROs play an essential role in clinical trials, providing expertise and resources that sponsor companies may have yet to have internally.


There are different types of CROs, each with its focus and areas of expertise. The three main types of CROs are full-service, functional-service, and academic research organizations.

  • Full-service CROs offer a comprehensive range of services, from study design and protocol development to data management and analysis. These organizations can manage all aspects of a clinical trial, giving sponsors peace of mind that their study is in good hands.
  • Functional service CROs provide specialized services in specific areas of the clinical trial process. Full-service CROs often engage these organizations to supplement their capabilities or sponsor companies that prefer to outsource particular functions. Active service CROs typically have data management, biostatistics, or project management expertise.
  • Academic research organizations (AROs) are typically universities or medical centers that conduct clinical research. AROs often have extensive experience running clinical trials and can offer sponsors access to large patient populations. However, AROs may have different resources or expertise than full-service or functional-service CROs.

What Are The Responsibilities Of A CRO In Clinical Trials?

  • As the name suggests, a CRO is a research organization that contracts with pharmaceutical and biotech companies to conduct clinical trials on their behalf.
  • A CRO can be either an independent organization or a subsidiary of a pharmaceutical company.
  • A CRO’s responsibilities vary depending on its contract with a sponsor. Still, they typically include designing and implementing clinical trial protocols, managing patient recruitment and enrollment, collecting and analyzing data, and preparing reports for regulatory submission.
  • A CRO is responsible for the management and execution of clinical trials. This includes the development of protocols, the identification and selection of investigators, the coordination of site activities, and the collection and analysis of data.
  • A CRO may also be responsible for regulatory affairs, quality assurance, and medical writing.
  • A CRO is responsible for conducting clinical trials on behalf of their clients.

Overall, a CRO is responsible for managing and executing clinical trials on behalf of its clients. They must ensure that the trial is conducted according to good clinical practice standards and meets all relevant regulatory requirements. Additionally, they must provide high-quality data and analysis that can be used to support regulatory submissions.

How To Choose A CRO For Your Clinical Trial?

When choosing a CRO for your clinical trial, remember a few things.

  • First and foremost, you’ll want to ensure that the CRO is experienced and reputable. They should have a good track record of running successful clinical trials and working with sponsors.
  • Another important consideration is the size of the CRO. Smaller CROs may be more agile and easier to work with, but they may also have fewer resources. Larger CROs may have more staff and capabilities but may also be more bureaucratic. It’s essential to find the right balance for your needs.
  • Finally, consider location when choosing a CRO. If you’re running a multinational trial, you’ll need a CRO with global reach. If your trial is more local, you can focus on finding a CRO near your facilities or patients.

Choosing the right CRO for your clinical trial is an important decision. By keeping these factors in mind, you can be sure to find the best possible partner for your needs.


Clinical research organizations are a vital part of the clinical trial process. They provide expertise and services to ensure that clinical trials follow ethical guidelines and regulations while providing crucial data that helps researchers make decisions about the safety and efficacy of new treatments. 

By understanding their different types of responsibilities, you can better understand how CROs contribute to the medicine development process and why they play such an essential role in patient care.

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