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Professor Nick Francis PhD, MD, BA, PGD (Epidemiology), MRCGP

Professor of Primary Care Research

Professor Nick Francis's photo

Professor Francis is a Professor of Primary Care Research in the School of Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education.

His main research interest is in helping patients and healthcare professionals prevent and manage infections in order to improve outcomes and reduce antimicrobial resistance.

Professor Francis leads research that focuses on the management of respiratory, urinary and skin problems in a primary care setting, with a particular focus on the prevention, diagnosis and management of infections and antimicrobial stewardship. Key area of interest include: COPD, asthma, skin infections and acne.

He brings extensive experience and expertise in leading clinical research including randomised controlled trials, observational studies, developing complex interventions, and epidemiological studies using large routine healthcare datasets.

He has helped to secure grant and infrastructure funding worth more than £46M, has published widely in high-impact journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet and British Medical Journal, and contributes to research leadership and impact through membership in national and international bodies such as the National Institute for Health Research (funding panel member), European Centre for Disease Control (Technical Advisory Committee), Department of Health (antimicrobial resistance working group), Public Health England (antimicrobial stewardship), Royal College of General Practitioners (Research Paper of the Year Panel Chair), Society for Academic Primary Care (Heads of Department Secretary).


PhD, Primary Care Medicine, Cardiff University, 2010

PGD, Epidemiology, University of London, 2007

MD, Medicine, University of Western Ontario, 1992

BA, Life Sciences, Queen’s University, 1990

Academic appointments held

2019 – ongoing Professor of Primary Care Research, School of Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education, University of Southampton (6 sessions per week)
2019 – ongoing Clinical Director – CRN Wessex Division 5
2017 – ongoing Associate Senior Researcher, Academic Centre for Primary Care, University of Oslo (2 sessions per week)
2014 – 2018 Reader, Division of Population Medicine, Cardiff University
2010 – 2014 Senior Clinical Research Fellow, Cardiff University
2005 – 2010 MRC Fellow/Clinical Lecturer, Cardiff University
2003 – 2005 Associate Academic GP (Academic Fellow), Cardiff University

Research interests

Please visit the Primary Care website.

Southampton Clinical Trials Unit projects
EXCALIBUR - Treating Acute EXacerbation of COPD with Chinese HerbAL MedIcine to aid AntiBiotic Use Reduction
SAFA - Spironolactone for Adult Female Acne Research study

Research group

Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education

Affiliate research group

Research project(s)

4S Sore Throat Study (Scores and Swabs to Self-assess Sore Throats)

Acne Care Online

The Acne Care Online programme aims to aims to support young people with acne to use effective treatments and reduce the overuse of long-term antibiotics

A digital behaviour change intervention to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak: A rapid co-design, implementation and evaluation project. (GERMDEFENCE)

ALICE Antivirals for influenza like illness - an RCT of clinical and cost effectiveness in primary care

Infectious diseases are a major threat to human wellbeing and economic and social development. Influenza, a highly contagious virus, causes a common respiratory infection with local and systemic symptoms.


We are looking to investigate the usefulness of antibiotics in this age group, it follows a European wide trial that was very similar for adults. Children will be provided antibiotic or placebo and keep a symptom diary for up to 28 days. They can opt to provide a throat swab, a blood sample and have a chest x-ray.

CEDAR the children's ear pain study

Chinese Herbal medicine to aid AnTibiotic use reduction in exacerbation of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (CHAT COPD)

CERrnaTc-19 (Clinical Evaluation of Rapid RNA Test for Covid-19)

CERAbTc-19 (Clinical Evaluation of Rapid Antibody Test for Covid-19)

COVID-19 virtual hospital Prognostic study (COVPRO)

The COVID-19 pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on societies around the globe. New approaches to managing people with suspected COVID-19 in the community have been developed, including virtual hospital wards. This study is using data from patients admitted to a virtual hospital to identify baseline factors associated with an adverse prognosis.

DEFINE: Development and evaluation of a FeNO-guided asthma management intervention in primary care

PRINCESS - Probiotics to reduce infections in care home residents, the PRINCESS trial

Retrospective Survey of Prevention, Treatment, Occurrence and Outcomes of Covid-19 in the community (RTO-Covid-19)

This is a survey about what people have done to try and prevent and treat Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.

VENUS Study – Developing a new approach to managing care home residents with possible urinary tract infection 

PANORAMIC - Platform Adaptive trial of NOvel antivRals for eArly treatMent of COVID-19 In the Community

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Professor Nick Francis
School of Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education
Faculty of Medicine
University of Southampton
Aldermoor Health Centre
Aldermoor Close
Southampton SO16 5ST

Room Number : 9590 AHC/121

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