Primary Care Research Centre


View some of our key collaborations that help fund and support world leading research at Southampton.

NIHR School for Primary Care Research

Renewed funding from the NIHR for the next five years (2021-2026) 

Due to the high quality of its research, the Primary Care Research Centre has succeeded in open competition in being a member of the NIHR School for Primary Care Research (SPCR), which comprises the 9 best performing academic departments in England, for three consecutive 5 year terms. The SPCR funding brings great advantages to the Centre: 

  • the ability to support  the next generation of researchers - not only through fellowships funded as part of the SCPR but by using ‘seedcorn’ money provide by the SPCR for departments to use flexibly 
  • the ability for very efficient pump priming money to lever further funds from major funding streams: two recent examples are our Home BP grant which then enabled us to win the PGfAR Integrating Digital Interventions into Patient Self-Management Support (DIPSS) Programme (led by Lucy Yardley), and Tony Kendrick'sCPRD study of Antidepressant Prescribing work (214) which then created the leverage for Tony's PGfAR REDUCE Programme (REviewing long term anti-Depressant Use by Careful monitoring in Everyday practice (REDUCE) programme) - both addressing major issues for primary care in how we can more efficiently manage chronic illness and the use of longer term medication
  • the ability to support work addressing major public health issues that must be addressed in primary care, but where it has been very difficult to get funding otherwise: in the area of antibiotic stewardship the funding of projects to investigate herbal and other approaches that could be used instead of antibiotics in the initial management of infections (ATAFUTI assesing Uva-Ursi  and NSAIDs for UTIs; and HATRIC investigating Pelargonium for Chest infections)
  • the ability to fund very large scale definitive projects that move the field forward that are difficult to get funding for otherwise: the example here is the CANDID cohort  where there have been NO substantial prospective primary care cohorts to develop and validate a decision rule for the diagnosis and referral of patients with lung or colorectal cancer (currently all the cancer risk scores use retrospectively collected, poorly recorded data). CANDID has recruited more than 20,000 patients to date and will provide landmark data for primary care.

Post-doctoral fellowship award - October 2021
Dr Hilda Hounkpatin, Senior Research Fellow was successful in her application for an SPCR post-doctoral fellowship. This 24-month fellowship started 1 October 2021. Hilda is researching into 'Social isolation, loneliness and multimorbidity: a mixed methods study'.

PhD studentship award - October 2021 
Amy Dobson is researching into 'Supporting parents and carers managing common infant symptons.'

PhD studentship award - January 2023 
Immaculate Ajok Okello  is researching 'Support to improve type II diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) outcomes for African ethnic groups in England.' 

PhD studentship award – September 2023
Katie Read is researching ‘Improving communication about women’s health in Primary Care.'

Post-doctoral fellowship award – April 2024
Dr Hollie Birkinshaw, Research Fellow was successful in her application for an SPCR post-doctoral fellowship. This 24-month fellowship started 1 April 2024. Fellowship in memory of Professor Elizabeth Murray. Hollie is researching into: Understanding the psychological impact of musculoskeletal pain in primary care: exploring pain-related distress over time and the experiences of first contact physiotherapists.

NIHR School for Primary Care Research Fellowships 

Wellcome Trust

Southampton PCRC are proud to be a key partner in the Wellcome funded Primary Care Clinician PhD Programme which aims to increase: 

  • multi-professional research capacity in primary care and build a cadre of future research leaders in primary care
  • the evidence base for primary care practice and policy 

The £8.7M programme is funded by Wellcome and will run for 5 years, funding a total of 45 PhD studentships. 

Our vision is to create a diverse, inclusive, accountable doctoral training programme (and, indeed, wider research environment) which offers a hospitable and welcoming environment in which individuals can flourish and conduct excellent research. 

The programme includes a consortium of leading primary care institutions led by Queen Mary University of London and including all nine current members of the NIHR School for Primary Care Research (SPCR) and the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at the University of Cambridge. 


Our school is closely involved with several aspects of the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) Wessex. 

There are four main research areas: 

  • Ageing and Dementia led by Professor Helen Roberts 
  • Healthy Communities led by Professor Julie Parkes 
  • Long-term Conditions led by Professor Mari-Carmen Portillo 
  • Workforce and Health Systems led by Professor Peter Griffiths 

Solent NHS Trust and Southern Health Foundation Trust

We are collaborating with Solent NHS Trust and Southern Health Foundation Trust who are providing vital hosting services for NIHR grant awards. We are working together to grow and improve research capacity within the local NHS. We also offer research project taster opportunities, funded by research capacity funding from Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. These taster attachments provide all types of health professionals with the opportunity to understand the value of an academic career and what this might lead to.  

We have been awarded short term capacity building funds by both organisations to support a number of positions within the department.

Primary Care in-practice research opportunities 2024-25

We are delighted to be able to offer Primary Care in-practice research opportunities on various projects. There are 5 apprenticeships of £1000-£2000 each, depending on time available, which will run until 31 March 2025.

Please contact Professor Miriam Santer or the Research Operations Manager, Jo Kelly for further details.

Closing date: Friday 26 July 2024.

AECC University College

The Southampton Initiative 2017 – 2021 

We worked with the AECC  University College to increase the evidence base for chiropractic care and research capacity within the profession. Chiropractic care is widely used by the public for a variety of musculoskeletal conditions but the evidence for the efficacy and utility of provision of such conservative management within a primary care setting is limited. The AECC University College is keen to both increase the evidence base for such provision and the research capacity within the UK chiropractic profession. This in turn will help the public and health payers who want to understand that their investment in chiropractic care is likely to be helpful and value based. 

Dave Newell Senior Research Fellow (for this initiative) led on this research collaboration and was based in our School part-time. Jonathan Field, Research Fellow worked with Dave building on our existing MSK portfolio along with a PhD student Marc Sanders whose project title is 'Exploration and evaluation of a triage and treat model delivered in NHS primary care into chiropractic care in the independent sector in Essex
This program of work was funded by the Chiropractic Research Council supported by the British Chiropractic Association

Wessex REACH

The Wessex REACH is an NIHR supported initiative to develop research capacity in Wessex to enable healthcare professionals to take research ideas from concept to reality.