ECRIN consists of integrating national clinical research facilities into a EU-wide network, able to provide support to clinical research in any medical field, and for any type of clinical research through information and consulting, and through a set of flexible services for the conduct of multinational clinical studies. This distributed infrastructure, based on the integration of competence centres, provides access to clinical research projects after assessment by its scientific board. A team of European correspondents working in the coordinating centre of each national network is the key actor in the provision of consulting and decentralised services. These services are particularly relevant for academic clinical research, especially under circumstances where international cooperation is required (ie. in rare diseases), or for clinical trials sponsored by biotechnology SMEs who often lack the capacity to act as a sponsor in EU-wide studies.