Research Awards

Celebrating excellence in primary care research is an important part of the Research Programme at the RCGP. These awards celebrate research and help to promote them to GPs and the wider primary healthcare community.

Research Paper of the Year Award 

The RCGP Research Paper of the Year (RPY) award gives recognition to an individual or group of researchers who have undertaken and published an exceptional piece of research relating to general practice or primary care. 

The call for nominating papers is now open.

The overall winner will be selected from category winning research papers.

Entries must be submitted under one of the following categories:

  • Medical education – with relevance to primary care
  • Medical education – with relevance to primary care and COVID-19
  • Health service research – including public health and implementation
  • Health service research – including public health and implementation, COVID-19 related
  • Clinical research
  • Clinical research - COVID-19 related

A research paper will be selected from each category as the winner of that category. The overall award winner will be selected from the category winners.

You can submit a research paper online.

You will be asked to provide:

  • Research paper title, journal
  • PubMed link to the paper
  • Nominate a category for the entry
  • Confirm that the paper meets the eligibility criteria outlined below
  • Names of authors who were practising GPs or who are Members, Fellows or Associates in training at the time of publication
  • Provide contact details (we will only contact you regarding the RPY if we have difficulty obtaining the research paper)



A research paper may only be entered in one category.


The paper must have been published between 1 January and 31 December 2020, in a peer-reviewed English language journal, published in any country. This includes research papers that are only available online. For papers that are “epub ahead of print” the date of first online publication of the final version will specify the publication year.


The research reported must relate to research which has been undertaken within the United Kingdom (UK) and/or the Republic of Ireland (ROI). For papers describing research involving other countries, the lead author must be based in UK or ROI, and the UK or ROI must have been the main or joint main site for conducting the research.


The findings of the paper should be directly applicable to general practice and/or primary care.


At least one of the authors must have been an active General Practitioner within the UK or ROI at the time the study was undertaken or any member of the RCGP. The award is open to all General Practitioners and is not restricted to members of the RCGP.


The following types of papers are not eligible for this award: pilot studies, feasibility studies, non-systematic literature reviews, audits or evaluation, discussion or opinion pieces, papers not based on research using empirical data.

Deadline for submissions: 28 February 2021

Should you have difficulty submitting research papers using the format please contact RPY Team:
Email: / Telephone: 0203 188 7594.

Please note: due to the large volume of papers submitted for the award we are unable to confirm submissions by email on an individual basis.

The winners of Research Paper of the Year 2019 - awarded in 2020

The Overall Winner and Category 1 - Clinical Research Winner:

Prof Chris Butler and Prof Nick Francis for paper: C-Reactive Protein Testing to Guide Antibiotic Prescribing for COPD Exacerbations

Category 2 - Health Services Winner:

Dr Ross McQueenie for paper: Morbidity, mortality and missed appointments in healthcare: a national retrospective data linkage study

Category 3 - Medical Education Winner:

Dr Julie Pattinson for paper: Exploring reasons for differences in performance between UK and international medical graduates in the Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners Applied Knowledge Test: a cognitive interview study

Category 3 - Medical Education Highly Commended Paper:

Dr Sharon Spooner for paper: The influence of training experiences on career intentions of the future GP workforce: a qualitative study of new GPs in England. British Journal of General Practice.

More information in the BJGP article

Find out about winners of the Research Paper of the Year Award from previous years.

RCGP & SAPC Awards for Outstanding Early Career Researchers (Academic General Practitioner and Primary Care Scientist) 2021

Professor Yvonne Carter CBE was an outstanding and inspirational leader who had a remarkable impact on academic general practice. To commemorate her contribution to primary care research the Royal College of General Practitioners, through its Scientific Foundation Board, and the Society for Academic Primary Care jointly instituted the Yvonne Carter Award for Outstanding Early Career Researcher in Primary Care.

This award ran for ten years, and has now been revised. From 2021 there will be two awards – one for an Academic GP and one for a Primary Care Scientist - made annually.

Purpose of the awards

The awards will recognise the contributions of early career researchers in advancing the discipline of academic primary care through research.  The awards (£500 each) are intended to enable the successful candidate to meet and collaborate with international researchers. While presentation at an international research meeting may be part of that, there must be evidence of plans for additional collaborative activity. The award is not intended purely as a travel grant for conference attendance without presenting, nor can it be used to fund a research project.

Application process 

We accept two applications (one application per category: 1. academic general practitioner and 2. primary care scientist) per department/centre/group.  Please liaise with your Head of Department about your application before submitting it.

Please apply by submitting the following information by email only to

  • Your CV
  • A letter outlining your current research, including how your work to date demonstrates your contribution to advancing the discipline of academic primary care (whether education or research) through the research process. Your application should include an imaginative proposal for the use of the award funds (including anticipated benefits and outputs). Your application should also include a statement from the overseas host, if applicable. 
  • A letter of support from your Head of Department outlining your contribution to the discipline of academic primary care, including confirmation that your academic post would continue for the duration of the 12 months award. 

Applications will be judged by a panel consisting of primary care academics from the RCGP and SAPC. The awards will be restricted to applicants whose background the Award Panel considers to be genuinely grounded in primary care. The panel will assess applications for evidence of the  candidate’s current and potential contributions to advancing primary care through research, including: personal research leadership, wider promotion of academic primary care, publications, other markers of distinction, as well as the clarity of the proposal for use of the award funds. Particular emphasis will be given to research which demonstrates an understanding of, and contribution to, the primary care vision.  

The decision of the Panel is final and not open to appeal. The successful candidates will be required to submit a report detailing how they used the award and the outcomes from it and support PR activity relating to the award.


The award is open to early career researchers in primary care.

Applicants should have no more than 5 years (pro rata) academic experience, excluding any career breaks, either in General Practice/Primary Care (GP/PC) post PhD or no more than 5 years, excluding any career breaks, since starting a substantive contract in a dept of GP/PC (ie holding a post as a research fellow, lecturer, teacher, 0.4 or more WTE).

They should hold a formal or honorary appointment with a primary care department, centre or group in a UK/Ireland University, have published original research in peer-reviewed journals – at least one as a lead author – and be actively engaged in high quality research which is genuinely grounded in primary care.


Sunday, 31 January 2021 - 5:00pm

For further information, please contact the Research team at or phone 020 3188 7594.

Previous winners 

  • 2011 Professor Christian Mallen (GP)
  • 2012 Dr Katherine Cresswell (PhD)
  • 2013 Dr Greg Irving (GP)
  • 2014 Dr Helen Atherton (PhD)
  • 2015 Dr Clare J Taylor, MBE (GP), highly commended Dr Sophie Park (GP)
  • 2016 Dr Kamal Mahtani (GP)
  • 2017 Dr Nathan Davies (PhD)
  • 2018 Dr Andrew Carson-Stevens (GP), highly commended Dr Emma Wallace (GP)
  • 2019 Dr Emma Wallace (GP)
  • 2020 Dr Sarah Mitchell (GP), highly commended Dr Jessica Watson (GP)

Clinical Research Awards 2020

Following careful consideration of the rapidly changing COVID-19 pandemic, NIHR & RCGP have decided to postpone submissions for First5 and Practice Awards. If you have any questions, please contact or phone 020 3188 7594

Offered by RCGP Scientific Foundation Board and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network, these awards are open to RCGP members and recognise research active NHS GPs and general practices that are demonstrating excellence and innovation in delivering NIHR research.

Applicants are required to outline their contribution to NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio studies with particular weight being attached to:

  • the range and number of patients in NIHR Clinical Research Network studies 
  • how patients have been engaged and informed of new opportunities to participate in clinical research
  • the contribution made to the delivery of studies 
  • innovative methods of study delivery.

As part of the application process the applicants will have to set out what activities they plan to carry out in the future to improve research delivery.


The 2019 winners:

  • First5® award – Dr Elizabeth Morris, Church Street Practice, Oxfordshire
  • Practice award – Wansford & Kings Cliffe Practice, Cambridgeshire 

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