Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Correspondence

Leaders, leadership and future primary care clinical research

John Furler1*, Jennifer Cleland2, Chris Del Mar3, Barbara Hanratty4, Umesh Kadam5, Daniel Lasserson6, Colin McCowan7, Parker Magin8, Caroline Mitchell9, Nadeem Qureshi10, Greta Rait11, Nick Steel12, Mieke van Driel13 and Alison Ward14

Author Affiliations

1 Department of General Practice, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

2 Department of General Practice and Primary Care, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK

3 Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia

4 School of Population, Community and Behavioral Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

5 Primary Care Musculoskeletal Research Centre, Keele University, Keele, UK

6 Department of Primary Health Care, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

7 Division of Community Health Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK

8 Discipline of General Practice, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Australia

9 Academic Unit of Primary Medical Care, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK

10 Division of Primary Care, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK

11 Department of Primary Care and Population Sciences, Royal Free and University College Medical School, London, UK

12 Faculty of Health, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK

13 Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, Ghent University, Belgium and Bond University, Queensland, Australia

14 Department of Primary Health Care, University of Oxford, UK

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BMC Family Practice 2008, 9:52  doi:10.1186/1471-2296-9-52

Published: 29 September 2008



A strong and self confident primary care workforce can deliver the highest quality care and outcomes equitably and cost effectively. To meet the increasing demands being made of it, primary care needs its own thriving research culture and knowledge base.


Review of recent developments supporting primary care clinical research.


Primary care research has benefited from a small group of passionate leaders and significant investment in recent decades in some countries. Emerging from this has been innovation in research design and focus, although less is known of the effect on research output.


Primary care research is now well placed to lead a broad re-vitalisation of academic medicine, answering questions of relevance to practitioners, patients, communities and Government. Key areas for future primary care research leaders to focus on include exposing undergraduates early to primary care research, integrating this early exposure with doctoral and postdoctoral research career support, further expanding cross disciplinary approaches, and developing useful measures of output for future primary care research investment.