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Eight photos showing different elements of research being carried out.

OUr research is internationally excellent

The Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences was ranked the top centre for primary care research in the UK in the 2014 national Research Excellence Framework exercise. We were similarly judged a top centre on our 1996–2008 assessments, so have been one of the world’s most important primary care centres for almost 20 years.

Our research is led by internationally renowned scientists; many of whom are practising GPs, but we also have academics from a range of non-medical disciplines including the social sciences and humanities.

We cover the broad range of issues that you might expect to consult your GP about including cardiovascular and metabolic disease, infectious diseases and childhood illness, diet, smoking and cancer. We also focus on understanding and improving the experiences of patients, utilising big data, developing digital health interventions and working internationally.

We have methodological expertise in clinical decision making and diagnostics, clinical epidemiology, medical statistics, modelling, qualitative research and the wider application of social science theory and methods to address practical and theoretical challenges in health and care settings. We also have a dedicated in-house Primary Care Clinical Trials Unit.

The department has recently developed a new stream of clinical research which seeks to improve our understanding of chronic disease and how they are monitored by patients and their clinicians. We have an international reputation for developing research methodologies to ensure that research findings have a positive impact on clinical practice.  

Research leadership

Our department is home to 13 of the National Institute for Health Research's 200 most prestigious and prominent researchers. These NIHR Senior Investigators contribute significantly to the health sciences as senior leaders, demonstrate research excellence and lead in training of the NIHR's people.

learn in our thriving academic environment

We teach elements of the undergraduate programme in medicine including arranging placements for medical students in GP practices. Our teaching is consistently ranked very highly by Oxford undergraduates. We also provide a highly supportive environment for postgraduates whether they are registered for a DPhil, enrolled on one of our short courses or the Evidence Based Health Care programme. We welcome domestic and international students to join our experienced and enthusiastic teachers, mentors and supervisors in aspirational study and research.

Our work makes a difference

Our research is very quickly translated into improvements in patient care. In just the past 5 years our research has changed clinical guidelines in many areas, including finding an effective treatment for COVID-19 in the community, more effective ways for the NHS to manage patients who wish to lose weight, identified early signs of serious illness in children, enhanced the diagnostic pathways for diabetes, heart failure and for hypertension, improved the recognition and treatment of stroke risk in atrial fibrillation, and altered health policy on smoking cessation. To ensure our research is relevant and beneficial, we work closely with patient and public representatives.