In 2023, the Clinical Research Unit (CRU) was launched within Medicine & Health with the purpose of offering a high quality, efficient and collaborative platform of clinical research services. Alongside this, a knowledge-sharing strategy to support researchers across our schools, research centres, institutes and affiliated organisations was developed.

Its inaugural year has been marked by significant growth, collaboration and achievements.

Reflecting on these milestones, Operations Director Dr Parisa Glass says it’s been an exciting preview of what lies ahead in facilitating impactful clinical research across the UNSW network.

“A standout highlight has been the strategic expansion of the CRU team, welcoming specialists in biostatistics, health economics, legal, and project and data management to round off our holistic expertise,” says Dr Glass.

“We have established a regular events line up, are actively fostering collaborations through the establishment of key partnerships and are developing creative strategies to enhance ongoing engagement within our research audience.”


CRU team at the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance (ACTA) International Clinical Trials Symposium, Melbourne, November 2023. Photo: UNSW, Sydney.


When partnering with the CRU, researchers are supported at each stage of the pre and post award project lifecycle ranging from resources that support project design and grant preparation, budgeting and resource planning, through to facilitating the setup and execution of clinical research.

“We have received valuable feedback from our initial round of pre-award services and are looking at taking on three post-award partnerships in early 2024,” says Dr Glass.

The CRU’s monthly Q&A webinars, which cover crucial topics involved throughout the clinical research journey, have evolved into the Food for Thought Learning Series, a strategy that has proven to be an effective means of increasing visibility and connecting with the research community.

This year's series of seven events has been embraced by the UNSW research network, experiencing impressive monthly growth and drawing over six hundred attendees so far.

"These sessions have evolved into a pivotal platform for us to engage with our audience, facilitate discussions on pertinent topics, and cultivate a sense of community around the CRU's services,” says Dr Glass.

“Forming collaborations with our affiliated networks and building on our internal content library, we are co-hosting training events for our research audience that provide practical resources and encourage meaningful discourse and action within the broader clinical research environment.”

Looking ahead, Dr Glass says the CRU is poised for another transformative year, with a key objective to further expand engagement with the research network through the launch of a digital community portal, providing members access to a range of content including training and microlearning modules, discussion groups, recordings and live and on-demand events.

“As we anticipate the challenges and opportunities of the coming year, we are dedicated to supporting impactful clinical research and making lasting contributions to our field through forging successful partnerships with our research community.”