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Applications open for an NIHR School for Primary Care Research PhD Fellowship

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Primary Care Research logo

8 July 2021

We welcome applications for this year's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Primary Care Research funded PhD Fellowship here at the Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol.

About the PhD opportunity

Applications are invited from individuals with a strong academic record who wish to develop a career in primary care research. Awards will normally be taken up in October 2021.

Applicants must have a first degree in a discipline relevant to primary care research and will be expected to complete a PhD during the award period.

This award will fund tuition fees up to the value of Home/EU fees; students with overseas status are welcome to apply but will need to fund the remainder of their fees from alternative sources.

Studentship awards include tuition fees, an annual tax-free stipend normally of £16,000 and a contribution towards research and training costs.

All applicants must ensure that their proposed research project is compatible with the published NIHR remit:

Closing date: 31 August 2021

About the Centre for Academic Primary Care

The Centre for Academic Primary Care (CAPC) at the University of Bristol is one of the largest and most productive centres for primary care research in the UK. It aims to provide high quality evidence to address some of the most important health challenges relating to NHS primary care, including the use (and misuse) of antibiotics, effective deprescribing, managing multimorbidity, reducing avoidable hospital admissions, improving mental health, helping victims of domestic violence and abuse, enabling early cancer diagnosis, and assessing the role of telehealth.

CAPC is a friendly and thriving centre including including a wide range of academic primary and care health professionals and scientists. There is methodological expertise in relation to qualitative and ethnographic approaches, development and evaluation of complex interventions, analysis of large primary care data sets, systematic review and evidence synthesis, mixed method studies, randomised controlled trials, and PPI and stakeholder consultation.

CAPC is based in Bristol Medical School, in the Department of Population Health Sciences, and has strong links with the NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) West and the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) in Behavioural Science and Evaluation. It is one of nine centres that form the NIHR School for Primary Care Research.

CAPC offers excellent training opportunities including an internationally recognised programme of short courses offered within the Bristol Medical School. These cover a range of health services research and epidemiological methods, as well as generic and specific research skills. 

We welcome applications from prospective students interested in CAPC’s research themes:

  • COVID-19: Projects evaluating responses to, and impact of, the pandemic, and identifying ways in which primary care and public health can respond.
  • Appropriate and effective care: Diagnosis and management of illness mainly treated in primary care, with a focus on: cancer, cardiovascular disease, childhood health, depression and anxiety, domestic violence, eczema, infection.
  • Organisation and delivery of care: The role of primary care within the health care system, with a focus on: commissioning and quality, service delivery, avoidable hospital admissions, multimorbidity and long term conditions, prescribing, new technology and complementary therapies.

CAPC’s research aims to impact primary care practice and health policy, leading to benefits for patients. Aided by our Knowledge Mobilisation team, and working closely with colleagues in the BRC, ARC West, HPRU and the Bristol Medical School, we seek to generate knowledge that is accessible and useful to academics, commissioners, clinicians, service providers, the voluntary sector and the public. We involve patients and the public in our research at all stages.

Candidates are invited to indicate on their application form which topic area(s) and methodological approaches they are most interested in.

How to apply

Please make an online application at Please select Faculty of Health Sciences and Population Health PhD on the Programme Choice page. You will be prompted to enter details of the studentship in the Funding and Research Details sections of the form. For general enquiries linked to the online application process, please email

Candidate requirements

Academically, candidates for the PhD may qualify for admission if they have either an undergraduate degree OR a Masters degree. The PhD candidate will ideally have a background in applied health research or another relevant (social science or medical) discipline.


This is a fully-funded three year PhD Scholarship which includes all tuition fees. The student will receive the standard NIHR SPCR stipend for PhD students (currently £16k per annum). Consumable costs to cover project expenses, directly incurred as a part of the research are included and a small training and conference budget.


Interested and suitably qualified candidates should make informal contact with Dr Alyson Huntley ( in the first instance. The project is available for start date from 1 October 2021.

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