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GP-led research in UK is 'world-leading'

By Steve Nowottny

Primary care departments across the country have scored highly in a national assessment.

The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise graded 14 universities on the strength of their primary care research, and on average ranked almost 60% of submitted research as ‘internationally excellent' or ‘world-leading'.

Based on peer review panels, the RAE is used to assess the standard of university research across all subjects – and will be used as a basis for 2009/10 funding allocations.

Among the departments to score highest were those at the University of Birmingham, University of Manchester, University of Oxford and University of Southampton.

RCGP chair Professor Steve Field praised the ‘outstanding results' across the county.

He said: ‘GPs are very rarely recognised for their research and innovation and this study not only demonstrates the value of their work but shows how it directly translates into tangible improvements for patients, rather than being consigned to a shelf somewhere to get dusty.'

‘These results are a major vote of confidence in the groundbreaking work that is going on already and should encourage even more GPs to get involved in future so that we can continue to expand the academic prowess of UK general practice - and continue to show that we have the best primary care research and education in the world.'

While no definitive league table has been published, due to the different methods for assessing the results, Research Fortnight's University Power Ranking, based on quality and quantity of research activity, ranked the University of Birmingham's primary care researchers as top in the UK.

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