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We welcome applications from potential doctoral students who are interested in conducting diabetes research using the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Research and Surveillance Centre (RSC) network and Real World Evidence (RWE) database.  The RCGP RSC is one of Europe’s oldest sentinel systems and collects data twice weekly from a nationally representative sample of practices with a combined list size over 4 million. The RCGP RSC data and analytics hub is based in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences and there is scope for working with practices, including providing online feedback via a dashboard, as well as working on our database.

The Clinical Informatics and Health Outcomes Research Group led by Professor Simon de Lusignan, have over 25 years’ experience in exploring the use of technology to improve data quality, and contribute to the implementation clinical governance.

In 2014, the group established a Real World Evidence centre to explore health outcomes in people with type 2 diabetes. Using routinely collected primary care data, the group have carried out studies into a number of different areas of research including adherence and persistence of glucose-lowering medications, disparities in healthcare provision of people with type 2 diabetes, and generalisability of randomised controlled trials in diabetes to real world clinical practice (1-3).

We welcome applicants wishing to write theses on RWE studies, particularly in relation to disparities in diabetes care, adherence and persistence, the use of contemporary drug therapies for treatment of diabetes, and the use of technologies including dashboards to improve the quality of care in diabetes.

 Potential areas for investigation include:

  • Epidemiology and Outcomes: What factors influence the development and course of type 2 diabetes? Is the natural history of diabetes complications changing? What patterns of morbidity and mortality are observed over time
  • Disparities in the management of diabetes.  Are there disparities between those who access e-consultations or other innovations such as group consultations for diabetes care? What is the impact of such innovations on GP workload?
  • Persistence and discontinuation of medications: Real world discontinuation rates of novel medications for type 2 diabetes (e.g. metformin and SGLT2 inhibitors).
  • Use of medications in contemporary practice:  e.g. Metformin and in people with impaired renal function; GLP-1s on heart failure in real world practice.
  • Quality improvement in diabetes: Technological innovations to improve the quality of care.


Please contact Simon de Lusignan for an informal visit:



  1. McGovern A, Hinton W, Calderara S, Munro N, Whyte M, de Lusignan S. A class comparison of medication persistence in people with type 2 diabetes: a retrospective observational study. Diabetes Therapy. 2018 Feb 1;9(1):229-42.
  2. Whyte MB, Hinton W, McGovern A, van Vlymen J, Ferreira F, Calderara S, Mount J, Munro N, de Lusignan S. Disparities in glycaemic control, monitoring, and treatment of type 2 diabetes in England: A retrospective cohort analysis. PLoS medicine. 2019 Oct;16 (10).
  3. Hinton W, Feher M, Munro N, Walker M, de Lusignan S. Real‐world prevalence of the inclusion criteria for the LEADER trial: Data from a national general practice network. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism. 2019 Mar 22.