Clinical Research Innovation

About CRI

A 45-percent increase in cancer diagnoses in the U.S. is expected by 2030. Cancer clinical trials play a crucial role in prevention, early detection, treatment, and, ultimately, cancer cures.

Recognizing that clinical trials in the U.S. face administrative and staffing barriers, regulatory constraints, increasing costs, and lagging patient accrual, AACI established the Clinical Research Initiative (CRI) in 2009. 

In late 2018, to mark its success and benefits to members, the program was renamed Clinical Research Innovation.  

The first AACI CRI Annual Meeting took place in 2009 with fewer than 200 attendees. By 2019, attendance exceeded 430 with 13 exhibitors and 64 posters on display. In 2020, the first virtual CRI meeting drew over 1,000 registrants.

View the CRI Progress Report

Strategic Plan & Goals

  1. Increase AACI cancer center participation in CRI
  2. Share cancer center clinical trial best practices through the collection and dissemination of benchmarking data
  3. Integrate CRI into AACI programs/initiatives
  4. Assist the centers in increasing patient engagement and enrollment into clinical trials 
  5. Develop outcomes to drive change and advance cancer center clinical research programs
  6. Increase engagement with industry and other stakeholders to support CRI
  7. Create a network for clinical trials office medical and administrative directors to foster communication and mentoring opportunities

The CRI Steering Committee helps guide and implement activities to disseminate best practices across AACI cancer center clinical trials offices.


Theresa L. Werner, MD
Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah

View All Steering Committee Members

The CRI annual meeting is designed to improve the clinical research process; understand the global impact of conducting clinical research in the United States, Canada, and abroad; discuss trends in clinical trials safety and compliance; and recommend policies to promote staff retention at AACI cancer centers.

View Materials From Past CRI Meetings


A Sharing Platform

The CRI Listserv engages nearly 650 subscribers from 82 of AACI's member centers. The listserv is an efficient platform for AACI members to ask questions, receive immediate feedback, and share best practices.

Recent Listserv Topics
  • Cancer center staff access to standard operating procedures (SOPs)
  • Dedicated resources for facilitating clinical trial referrals
  • Patient representatives on feasibility committees
  • Using eVisits for clinical trials

Working Groups & Surveys

Regulatory File Management Working Group

To examine the benefits of establishing a common nomenclature to use for regulatory filing systems, AACI established the Regulatory File Management Working Group in October 2018. The working group is comprised of AACI leadership, members from AACI cancer centers, and other relevant stakeholders who are working together to create a common cancer clinical trial regulatory file nomenclature.


  • Identify the challenges associated with non-standardized nomenclature

  • Develop standard nomenclature for trial regulatory use

  • Develop a site map for storing common documents

  • Share best practices for site monitoring

Read the October 2019 AACI Commentary

Benchmarking Survey

The CRI Steering Committee invited cancer centers to participate in a benchmarking survey to learn more about cancer center clinical trials office (CTO) workload, structure and staffing, trial activation timelines, and sources of CTO funding support. The purpose of collecting this information is to allow cancer center members to compare their center with other AACI members.

Eighty-six percent of elgible centers responded to the survey. Data analysis is underway. The next steps will be to send back summary data reports to participating centers and prepare data for publication. 

AACI SIP Task Force

This task force is facilitating collaboration with industry partners to help AACI member cancer centers implement the Shared Investigator Platform (SIP) for clinical trials.

Read the August 2019 AACI Commentary