The Australian Clinical Trials Alliance broadly classifies CTNs into two types: Facilitating or Coordinating. The definitions of each are listed below.
The network facilitates collaborative development and funding of clinical trials but has little or no direct role in their management or coordination. The role of management and coordination of clinical trials is allocated to one or more specialist trial coordinating centres. These centres can be based in either medical research institutions or university departments but have governance that is independent of the network (the same individuals can have roles in both the network and the coordinating centre). A facilitating network will not act as study sponsor.
The network also takes on the role of coordinating clinical trials and provides direct project management for trial conduct (regulatory compliance, site liaison and management, protocol development, recruitment, monitoring, data management, statistical analysis, etc). The institution that hosts the trial coordinating centre will act as the sponsor for investigator-initiated clinical trials or the CTN develops the capability to sponsor individual trials.