Research at RCGP

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At the RCGP we define research as systematic investigation that results in new conclusions. Whilst not a research organisation, the RCGP recognises the key role that research plays in advancing the highest quality of care for patients.

High quality research and objective evidence is vital to policy and clinical decision-making and underpins the best possible care for patients. The RCGP Research Programme works in a number of ways to help ensure robust evidence remains at the heart of what we do.

We support GPs and academics in their research by building research capacity:

  • Developing research skills and knowledge in general practice.
  • Strengthening the infrastructure available for GPs and researchers to access data from their profession to inform their research.
  • Providing grant funding to support GPs to undertake high quality research in areas of priority.
  • Working with key stakeholders in the primary care research sector to influence Government to invest in primary care research.

We develop and use new research to help provide the evidence for robust decision-making:

  • Developing research and data analyses in priority areas.
  • Using evidence to understand the current state of general practice and hold Government and the NHS to account on their commitments.
  • Working with key stakeholders to develop new research projects and opportunities.

We promote high quality research and support its translation into policy and practice:

  • Celebrating high quality research in general practice and enabling those researchers to promote their own work.
  • Working with researchers and innovators whose work focuses on general practice priorities to help disseminate and implement their findings.

Research Engagement Hub

A celebration and showcase of academic general practice as an exciting and varied career path.

Explore the hub
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The Royal College of General Practitioners supports and collaborates in research across the primary care network. Below is a summary of the work we are involved in:

Society for Academic General Practice (SAPC)

SAPC is a membership organisation for primary care academics clinicians, educators and health service researchers. They champion expertise in academic research and education driving improvements in primary care.

SAPC have numerous working groups that bring together Heads of Departments or Heads of Teaching and Special interest groups. SAPC also hold national and regional conferences that offer opportunities for academic researchers to present their work and participate in workshops.

SAPC and the College provide two combined awards: The Outstanding Early Career Researcher Award and the John Fry Award. For more information on these, please look at our awards page.

Wise GP

The WiseGP a collaborative initiative was started by SAPC and RCGP. The goal of this collaboration is to support person-centred primary health care, by inspiring clinicians to develop their knowledge and provide them with the tools to help them manage the complexities of everyday practice.

WiseGP has developed Knowledge work goals to help GPs and others working to improve primary care. The goals are as follows:

  • Promote knowledge work: raise awareness for the essential contribution generalists make in tackling healthcare challenges.
  • Advance knowledge work: develop resources for staff and patients to enhance person-centred care.
  • Sustain knowledge work: create spaces for stakeholders to sustain knowledge work.

WiseGP has a library of GEMS, where you can find out about the latest research related to General Practice, which can be applied in practice ways to tackle everyday problems and improve the provision of care. The research covers a range of topics and is relevant to the extended primary care team.

To find out more please look at the Wise GP website or get involved by contacting Joanne Reeve, GP Scholarship Lead. You can also look at @TheWiseGP1 for regular updates.

National Institute for Health and Care Research

NIHR funds and delivers research across all levels of care. The NIHR covers all levels of care, and the departments the College engages most with are the Clinical Research Network (CRN) and the School of Primary Care Research (SPCR).

NIHR Clinical Research Network

The NIHR CRN supports high-quality research studies on 30 different specialities across England. They have a large range of resources, which are allocated on a national and local level. They offer activities designed to support health and care organisations, staff, patients and service users to be research active. These include specialist training, information systems to manage and report research, patient and public involvement opportunities and engagement initiatives, and communications expertise.

The CRN have 15 Local Clinical Research Networks that support local research studies. They do this by providing funding, connecting researchers to participants, and ensuring research is done efficiently. The clinical research supports the Government’s Strategy for UK Life Sciences.

The College collaborates with the CRN to award a First5 GP and a Practice joint award to recognise clinicians and practices that have demonstrated excellence and innovation in delivering NIHR CRN research.

NIHR School of Primary Care Research

The NIHR SPCR is a partnership between 9 of the leading academic centres. The partnership connects academics and practitioners across the country to conduct, support and offer exciting opportunities to researchers working to improve primary care and general practice.

The universities included are:

  • Bristol University
  • Exeter University
  • Keele University
  • Manchester University
  • Nottingham University
  • Oxford University
  • Queen Mary University of London
  • Southampton University
  • University College London

The College collaborated with the NIHR SPCR to create the Research Engagement Hub, which was created to celebrate and showcase academic general practice as an exciting and varied career path. The Director of the School Professor Christian Mallen, contributed a testimonial, Please take a look and find out more about how to get into research.