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DPhil Supervision

Supervision in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences is a collaborative process between the student and supervisor. Both need to agree on an interesting project.  DPhil projects with me are likely to include an evaluation of the theoretical underpinning and evidence for a new treatment (usually in the form of a systematic review); establishing the best ways to measure its impact; and carrying out a study, for example a small-scale randomised trial, to evaluate its feasibility and impact. The project might also include analysis of data collected in previous studies. In most cases, supervision will take the form of a formal supervision meeting once a month (with more frequent meetings early on in the project) at which progress with the research is discussed and plans made for the next month’s research. In practice, however, additional informal meetings occur more often - once or twice a month - and the NDPCHS has an active group of graduate students and postgraduate researchers able to offer advice. Working as a doctoral student in the clinical trials unit provides access to informal advice from staff with skills and experience using a wide range of research methodologies.

Andrew Farmer

Professor of General Practice


Following my medical training, I completed specialist training in the Oxford Deanery and then worked as a full-time general practitioner at Thame Health Centre. I qualified as a GP trainer, contributed to practice development, and began to develop an academic interest. I was a Harkness Fellow of the Commonwealth Fund of New York in 1991, one of the first general practitioners to hold this award. I subsequently completed a higher degree and then moved to the Oxford University Department of Primary Health Care funded through the award of an NHS R&D Senior Clinical Scientist Award. I took up my current post in 2007 as a University Lecturer. In addition to my research and teaching, I still work as an associate general practitioner at South Oxford Health Centre and am Chair of a national funding board, the NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme General Board, which funds a wide range of clinical studies intended to produce research information about the effectiveness, costs and broader impact of healthcare treatments.

My research interests are focused on improving the care of people with chronic and long-term health conditions. I am particularly interested in improving health care for people with diabetes. Much of my work has centered on improving the self-management of diabetes in general practice including researching where blood glucose monitoring is helpful, supporting people in making best use of their medicines, and developing and testing digital health systems, for example using mobile phones to collect data from personal monitoring devices and providing tailored feedback to help improve lifestyle and better use of medicines. We carry out this work in a UK NHS setting and also internationally, for example in South Africa and Malawi. Our group uses a wide range of research methods, qualitative research, analyzing electronic health records, and clinical trials to produce evidence. 


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