Edinburgh Medical School

Edinburgh Clinical Research Facility

Edinburgh Clinical Research Facility(CRF) provides state of the art facilities to support multidisciplinary clinical research locally, nationally and internationally. Our Scientific Cores and Specialist Support services have over 15 years’ experience in supporting high quality, high impact research with a particular focus on experimental medicine.

Edinburgh Clinical Research Facility buildings


In 1997 the Wellcome Trust, in collaboration with the English and Scottish Executive Health departments, launched an initiative to strengthen clinical research in the UK by funding the construction costs of five new Wellcome Trust clinical research facilities.

The aim was to provide purpose-built environments for patient-oriented research that were specifically designed to encourage collaborations between basic and clinically trained scientists.

As a result of a joint bid submitted by University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian, Edinburgh was the only Scottish site to receive funding and became the first CRF in Scotland.

Purpose-built facility

Edinburgh CRF operates on all the clinical sites in Edinburgh. The original Wellcome Trust award funded a purpose-built facility (WTCRF) on the Western General Hospital site. This was quickly followed by the opening of a facility embedded in the new Royal Infirmary at Little France (RIECRF).

Our paediatric facility (Children’s CRF) is currently housed in the Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Sciennes, and will be moving to purpose built and expanded accommodation in the new Sick Children’s Hospital at Little France.

The Centre for Dementia Prevention CRF opened on the Bioquarter site in 2016.

Phase I and First in Human clinical trials 

Edinburgh CRF adult and paediatric facilities are all accredited under the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Phase I scheme.

The scheme aims to make sure trials are as safe as possible and to create public confidence in the regulation of Phase I clinical trials. Organisations in the scheme have to exceed the basic regulatory good clinical practice (GCP) standards by having additional procedures that include the highest standards for avoiding harm to trial subjects and for handling any medical emergencies.

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency 

Our location at the heart of the acute hospital setting means that Edinburgh CRF’s clinical facilities are ideally positioned to provide the infrastructure and expertise to conduct Phase I/ First in Human (FIH) studies safely.

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

Four specialist scientific cores

In addition to the Clinical Service, Edinburgh CRF uniquely comprises four specialist scientific cores, whose role is to provide expert support for research in humans, their tissue or data in compliance with regulatory and legislative research governance frameworks.

Epidemiology and statistics

The Epidemiology and Statistics Core aims to improve the methodological quality of research projects through the provision of expert statistical input.

Epidemiology and Statistics


The Genetics Core is staffed and equipped to provide secure receipt, processing, archiving and analysis of biological samples. Our team can provide support for your clinical research from sample collection to genetic analysis, working to the principles of Good Clinical Practice for Laboratories. We aim to be a centre of excellence for quality assured genomic research.


Imaging and image analysis

Edinburgh Clinical Research Facility Imaging Core encompasses the Brain Research Imaging Centre (BRIC), the Clinical Research Imaging Centre (CRIC) and our Image Analysis team. Image Analysis is central to conducting successful and meaningful medical imaging research projects. Our image analysis facilities are equipped with high-spec workstations and specialised software packages.

Imaging and Image Analysis

Edinburgh Imaging facility (Western General Hospital)

Edinburgh Imaging facility (Queen's Medical Research Institute)

Edinburgh Imaging facility (Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh) 

Mass spectrometry

Our team provides a service for small molecule quantitative clinical and preclinical chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis. We have established a number of validated quantitative assays and also develop novel analytical methods for quantitative analysis and metabolite identification tailored to researcher-specific questions and needs.

Mass Spectrometry

Research support cores


Education programme

Edinburgh CRF’s Education programme collaborates with NHS Research Scotland to provide training for clinical research professionals throughout Scotland and beyond. The team developed the online University of Edinburgh MSc Clinical Trials.

Education Programme

MSc Clinical Trials

Information technology

The CRF IT area aims to develop user-friendly web applications to support the needs of clinical research.

CRFManager® is a custom built application designed in-house to support the administrative requirements of the CRF from study set up, through patient booking to invoicing and reporting. CRFManager® is now used by over 45 CRFs and similar organisations in the UK and Europe. All programmes are developed in the context of the highest level of data security.

Information Technology

Visit the Edinburgh Clinical Research Facility website

Edinburgh Clinical Research Facility website