Skip to content
Student nurse

Enhancing GP Careers through Integration with Research; an investigation into innovation in General Practice

  • School: School of Social Sciences
  • Starting: 2023
  • Funding: UK student


In UK healthcare, multiple challenges threaten the sustainability of general practice. These include, growing demand, reductions in funding, rapid changes in policy and regulation, and being ‘undercut’ by corporate providers. Prominent amongst these challenges are workforce shortages, with GP vacancies at historically high levels and growing use of locums and trainees (Health Foundation, 2019). Placing high burden on remaining GPs, this also creates severe problems for the community, including a lack of GP appointments, reduced quality, safety and continuity of care, and unequal access to appropriate services across socio-economic and ethnic groups.

Such challenges are present across every region, there are also large variations in how general practice is organised and managed which may shape how they can respond. Reacting to ambiguities in public policy (Morciano et al., 2020; Checkland et al 2020), new organisational structures, systems of governance and approaches to service delivery are being explored across the country. In Nottingham, there is a novel initiative to implement a model of general practice which places increasing emphasis on professional development. A current programme of work, led by the Nottingham GP Alliance, is seeking large changes to general practice work, careers and wider professional identity. This involves more engagement with research infrastructure, the development of a centre of excellence for primary care, and new career structure. Further initiatives across the East Midlands also relate to this programme of work.

The proposed research will examine barriers to general practice sustainability and evaluate local and regional initiatives to address these challenges. This will consider the structures and processes of regional commissioning arrangements, as well as geographic and demographic factors which play into arrangements. This will involve close working with GPs and other primary care stakeholders to conceptualise and evaluate the actions that are being taken in response to challenges.

This project has been co-created and is supported by researchers from Nottingham Trent University, the University of Nottingham and partners at the Nottingham GP Alliance. The successful candidate for this project would be enrolled at the University of Nottingham.

Project Aims

This project aims to address the following researh questions:

  • What are the key current challenges to the viability of general practice?
  • How are these challenges shaped by the regional circumstances within Nottingham and Nottinghamshire and broader region?
  • What local and regional innovations in general practice are being implemented to address these barriers?
  • What is the impact of these innovations on improving the viability of general practice?

Project Supervisors

What is Co(l)laboratory?

Co(l)laboratory is pioneering new programme supported by Nottingham Trent University, the University of Nottingham and the Universities for Nottingham partnership. The programme aims to bring together researchers, community-focused organisations and local citizens to deliver meaningful change for the people of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. All our studentships have been developed through collaborations between academics and local, community-focused organisations to shape the research projects around the priorities of local communities.

Who are we looking for?

Co(l)laboratory aims to bridge the gap between academia and communities through a holistic programme of co-created research that actively engages with public groups. As we work to build a different way of doing PhD research, we need candidates who are socially conscious and invested in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire communities to join us. If you are an inspired individual with practical experience and a passion for creating positive change, Co(l)laboratory can help you elevate your knowledge and skills and make a lasting impact.

Entry qualifications

These PhDs are targeted towards students from non-traditional backgrounds and applicants do not necessarily need a first or 2.1 degree. Applications are open to local citizens, employees and practitioners.

How to apply

Applications to all Co(l)laboratory 2023 PhD studentships must be submitted through through our online applications portal HERE. This also applies to Co(l)laboratory studentships which are hosted at the University of Nottingham. Applications open at 12pm on Thursday 22nd December 2023 and close at 12pm on Monday 6th February 2023.

Fees and funding

This is a funded PhD project for UK applicants.

Guidance and support

For more information on Co(l)laboratory PhD studentships, contact Alex Nkrumah at

Still need help?

Alex Nkrumah