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Key Indicators

NACTRC aims to provide the research community with the highest level of support. As part of this commitment, we’ll be publishing key indicators here on our website.

New research agreements have steadily increased over the last few years (see Figure 1). This is the result of working with our partners and stakeholders to better align our efforts.

Confidentiality agreements predict future activity, and we expect to be even busier soon. We’re seeing a rise in clinical trial agreements with our industry partners. Meanwhile, sub-site agreements reflect greater involvement with other academic institutions. Most of these institutions are in Canada, but some are in the United States.

Turnaround times are key to helping researchers stay competitive for grants and industry studies (see Figure 2). NACTRC recently added a contract specialist role to help review agreements with legal counsel. This communication between legal counsel and sponsor has led to timeline improvements. It’s also emphasized replicating new agreements from agreements completed in the past.

The current quarter turnaround times for clinical trial and sub-site agreements are low. At the same time, the number of contract specialists’ replicated agreements are higher than completely negotiated agreements. This is due to a turnover in legal counsel. Alberta Health Services Improvement Way (AIW) recently conducted a process review of NACTRC. This review helped identify opportunities to further reduce turnaround times and outliers. 

Area operational approvals are increasing while research activity does the same (see Figure 3). Research sites and programs provide these approvals.

AOAs go through NACTRC’s administrative system Encaps. This system helps researchers take part in and track their application’s progress. It improves efficiency, reduces administrative burden, helps communication, and streamlines processes by integrating with legal, finance, and ethics.

Question sets are customizable by area. The comment log and e-notifications allow researchers and area reviewers/approvers to communicate more quickly and easily.

Areas can also embed important information like area research guidelines in their question sets. The final administrative approval is available by download from Encaps. It shows AOAs, ethics approval, financial accounts, agreements, and so on as applicable.