Project Lead

Professor Meredith Temple-Smith


Primary Care

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Lead partner

The University of Melbourne

Practice-based research networks (PBRNs) are collaborations between clinical practitioners (in this case in primary care) and academics. PBRNs aim to foster research in general practice through opportunities to learn more about how to undertake and participate in research, and assist in translating new knowledge into practice. Critically, PBRNs also offer clinicians the chance to contribute to research by posing questions of importance to quality clinical care.

Australia’s primary care PBRN establishment has lagged behind that of UK and USA. This has had an impact on our ability to collect data from the many primary care settings across our continent, which in turn limits the impact of primary care research on health outcomes and policy change.

PBRNs are the equivalent to a clinical laboratory in the primary care setting.   To undertake large scale impactful clinical trials and/or trials of population-based/health service interventions in primary care, it is essential to have participation of large numbers of practices, ideally representing the breadth of practices in Australia. The aim of this study was therefore to determine the research capacity of PBRNs which exist in Australia in the primary care setting.

This project was funded through an MRFF RART award.

Eighteen PBRNs contributed to the study, which included a survey and an interview with key PBRN staff. Data was collected on each:

  • PBRN’s aims
  • organisational structure
  • membership, governance
  • operational activities
  • communication
  • types of research projects undertaken
  • education and training offered by the PBRN
  • linkages with other organisations
  • sustainability of the PBRN
  • current challenges
  • successes and achievements

This information will benefit researchers looking to undertake research in primary care across Australia.

Final report can be located here.