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The Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, the top ranked primary care research centre in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, is uniquely placed to provide ACF training and development.

Since 2008, the Department has doubled its academic capacity, with four new full time senior experienced PIs adding significant research activity and training capacity. The head of department, Professor Richard Hobbs, a senior NIHR Investigator, is also Director of the NIHR School for Primary Care Research, the NIHR CLAHRC Oxford, and Theme Leader for the NIHR Oxford BRC (Prevention & Population Care). 

Research focus

Our research themes include health behaviours, infections and acute care, cardiovascular and metabolic disease, patient experience, and research methods and evidence-based medicine. We also have several cross-cutting topics including big data, clinical trials, informing policy, global health, and digital health and innovation

The department includes the Oxford Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, the Oxford Health Experiences Research Group, a large group of medical statisticians, and jointly with Immunology and Vaccines, hosts a NIHR fully accredited clinical trials unit.

Find out more about our research

The ACF scheme

The current ACF scheme contains 18 months of hospital posts and 30 months of combined general practice with research. This gives the equivalent of 12 months full time research without competing clinical commitment across ST3 and ST4, with an additional month within the study leave allowance at either ST1 or ST2 to focus on research skills and project development for ST3/4. Masters level research training is provided by modules from the MSc in Evidence Based Healthcare. ACFs are supported in, and regularly achieve, first author publications in major international journals (e.g. BMJ), national conference presentations, submission of grant applications and PI experience. ACFs select posts, all of which are approved for General Practice training, enabling trainees to apply for a CCT at the end of the programme. 18 months are spent in supervised general practice and 18 months within hospital specialties.

Trainee experience is enhanced with mentorship and support independent of direct project supervision provided by the ACF lead and Dr Gail Hayward, and ACFs also have their interests represented on the Department’s Graduate Studies Committee.


Our research groups have strong collaborative links into biomedical laboratory science, social science, health economics and statistics, reflecting the requirements for robust impactful applied health research to make primary care fit for future healthcare delivery. Translational ‘pull through’ from discovery science into day-to-day general practice is the core aim of the NIHR Oxford BRC Prevention and Population Care Theme. We also work closely with the local NHS Foundation Trusts, the Clinical Research Networks and the Clinical Commissioning Groups.

Applying for the ACF programme

Read our Frequently Asked Questions for full details on eligibility and how to apply.

Further information can be found via the Oxford University Clinical Academic Graduate School

We are part of Oxford Medical Sciences