Accreditations for NHS

Independent Quality Assurance for NHS Clinical Trial Sites and Staff – Demonstrate to sponsors, CROs and patients that you are a ‘Partner of Choice’ for clinical trials

The joint mission of GCSA and IAOCR is to reduce risk to patients and the development of valuable new treatments, through a commitment to doing things “right first time” with “quality built in”.

The distinctive IAOCR and GCSA certification marks (see below), provide reassurance to patients and sponsors that the clinical trial sites, and the people working within them have undergone rigorous quality assurance assessment and are working to trusted, world-class standards.

GCSA (Global Clinical Site Assessment) provides a system of assessment, gap analysis, improvement support and independent quality assurance certification for clinical trial sites and was developed in close association with the NIHR, HRA and NHS R&D Forum. as part of a Global Advisory Board. The standard responds to industry demand for clearly identifiable sites that are “easy to partner with” and “put patients at the heart of clinical research”.

GCSA provides the consistent, robust, gold standard for clinical trial sites globally. In the UK, GCSA is helping to enable:

  • Increased opportunities for patients to receive innovative new treatments through participation in clinical research
  • Opportunities for NHS clinical trial sites to increase income
  • Networking opportunities for NHS clinical trial sites, sponsors and contract research companies
  • UK PLC to be the global first choice for clinical trials

IAOCR awards Internationally Qualified Clinical Research Professional status to individuals working in clinical trials, based on robust and independent verification of competence. IAOCR accreditations are developed by international taskforces of industry experts and are mapped to the International Standard Classification of Education Framework developed by UNESCO. Experienced clinical trial site professionals as well as entry level candidates (who have undergone foundation level training) are invited to register for IAOCR professional accreditations launching in Q1 2023.

Global Clinical Site Accreditation Logo
IAOCR The International Accrediting Organisation for Clinical Research
NHS Logo

Benefits for NHS Sites

  • Reduces risk – brings new treatments to market more quickly and safely
  • Reduces costs through increased workforce effectiveness, performance and efficiency
  • Ensures E8 (R1) compliance –Evidences a ‘right first time’ and ‘quality built in’ approach through robust independent accreditation
  • Provides transparency for and reassures sponsors and CROs through clearly recognizable quality marks
  • Creates a point of differentiation by positioning your site as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ for clinical research trials
  • Improves employee attraction, engagement and retention. Enhances health and well-being of your team
  • Competence based career pathways for clinical trial site-staff. Allows employer to tailor performance development to address competence gaps.

Quality Assuring Clinical Trial Sites Through GCSA Accreditation

Global Clinical Site Accreditation Logo
Global Clinical Site Accreditation Badge

The GCSA best practice standard was developed with a Global Advisory Board of clinical research industry stakeholders from a broad range of commercial, not-for-profit, regulatory and membership organisations from the UK and around the world – including representatives from the NHS. Their shared ambition is to ensure process excellence that facilitates synergistic partnerships between sites and sponsors, to ensure true patient centricity.

The modular assessment covers:

  • R&D Commercial Strategy
  • Governance
  • Workforce Quality Accreditation
  • Patient Engagement
  • Feasibility 
  • Study Start-up and Initiation
  • Study Management, Operations and Closedown

Commitment to the GCSA journey demonstrates an NHS site’s dedication to quality, the desire for ensuring high quality patient experience and the aspiration to be a clinical trial site of choice.

Find out more about GCSA site accreditation.

Professional Recognition for NHS Clinical Trial Site Staff through IAOCR Accreditation

IAOCR has a long history of working with the NHS, commercial clinical research companies and parlimentary stakeholders. Working collaboratively under the guidance of IAOCR, the Taskforce for Core Competencies for Clinical Trial Site Staff commenced work in 2021. The Taskforce worked in four groups to identify competencies for the roles of clinical Trial Site Nurse, Investigator, Site Manager, and Coordinator. They successfully delivered the most comprehensive competency framework ever developed for clinical research sites by an international group of broad ranging clinical research organizations.

Experienced NHS clinical trial site professionals and those looking to step into the industry (who have already completed foundation level training) are now invited to register for the following accreditations:

  • Foundation Level – Internationally Qualified Clinical Research Professional (F-IAOCR)
    Foundations in Clinical Research Accreditaion and ICH-GCP Accreditation
  • Qualified Clinical Research Nurse (Site-based) – Internationally Qualified Clinical Research Professional (Q-IAOCR)
  • Qualified Clinical Research Cooordinator (Site-based)  – Internationally Qualified Clinical Research Professional (Q-IAOCR).
  • Qualified Clinical Research Site Manager – Internationally Qualified Clinical Research Professional (QM-IAOCR)
  • Qualified Clinical Research  Investigator – Internationally Qualified Clinical Research Professional (QM-IAOCR)


How to register for IAOCR Accreditation:

If you are an individual wanting to achieve IAOCR Accreditation in your clinical research role, start your journey to professional recognition here.

If you are a site wanting to accredit your site and/or your site staff, please contact us directly.


Foundations in Clinical Research Accreditation
ICH GCP Accredited
Internationally Qualified Clinical Research Nurse (Site-Based)
IAOCR Internationally Qualified Clinical Research Coordinator (Site-Based)
Internationally Qualified Clinical Research Site Manager Accreditation
Internationally Qualified Clinical Research Investigator Accreditation