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Exeter Collaboration for Academic Primary Care (APEx)

Placing research and evidence at the heart of primary care education, the collaboration for academic primary care is involved in various undergraduate, postgraduate, and established professional programmes across the university's medical school.

APEx Education Leads: Dr Jane Smith & Dr Emma Pitchforth

Undergraduate taught

Postgraduate taught

Postgraduate research

Academic clinical fellowships

Studentships in Primary Care Research

As part of our membership in the School for Primary Care Research (SPCR), many funding opportunities are available to continue your career in primary care, such as PhD and post-doctoral fellowships. 


The NIHR School for Primary Care Research (SPCR) Undergraduate Student Internship Programme provides students with experience in a research environment and access to a team of specialised mentors and supervisors. The aim of the programme is to provide undergraduate students the opportunity to gain primary care research experience, allow for greater collaboration and to raise the academic profile of general practice.  


Supervisor (s)






To find out more, please click on the link to the Exeter projects on  the SPCR webpage:

Please contact if you have any questions. 

Funded PhD in Primary Care Research

About the Award

The Exeter Collaboration for Academic Primary Care (APEx) in the University of Exeter’s Faculty of Health and Life Sciences based at the St Luke’s Campus in Exeter, is inviting applications for a National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) School for Primary Care Research (SPCR) funded PhD studentship to commence in September 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The studentship award provides annual funding to cover Home tuition fees in full, a tax-free stipend of £19,237 per year for 3 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study, plus a contribution towards research and training costs. Students who pay international tuition fees are eligible to apply, but should note that the award will only provide payment for part of the international tuition fee and no stipend and so they will need to have funding for the remainder of their fees and living expenses from alternative sources. International applicants also need to be aware that you will have to cover the cost of your student visa, healthcare surcharge and other costs of moving to the UK to do a PhD. The conditions for eligibility of home fees status are complex and you will need to seek advice if you have moved to or from the UK (or Republic of Ireland) within the past 3 years or have applied for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Projects and Supervisors:

Supervision for the studentship is being offered around one of the research topics below.


Contact for questions/to discuss application

Co-adapting and evaluating Teen Online Problem-Solving with adolescents with neurodevelopmental conditions (TOPS-ND) for use in primary care

Anna Adlam

Development of educational resources to improve health care practitioners’ communication of uncertainty

Jo Butterworth

Blood pressure and cognition

Contact: Christopher Clark

Evaluating therapy for prolonged grief disorder in an NHS Talking Therapies context

Barney Dunn

Social prescribing in dementia what works and why people refuse

Chris Fox

Tracking the pathways of young people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Tamsin Newlove-Delgado

Physical activity and ADHD in young people: a mixed methods project to explore acceptability and implications for practice guidelines

Tamsin Newlove-Delgado

Digital health interventions: addressing health inequalities in primary care for minoritized young people with ADHD

Anna Price

Antimicrobial resistance: integration into health services policy, delivery and organisation in primary care

Emma Pitchforth

Non-cancer diagnoses and their potential for missed opportunities in symptomatic cancer diagnosis

Sarah Price

Climbing (e.g., indoor, outdoor, clip, bouldering) and mental health

Samantha van Beurden

Integrating primary care networks into the delivery of heart failure cardiac rehabilitation

Samantha van Beurden

Identifying and supporting people with Bipolar Disorder in primary care

Kim Wright

Further information on the projects and supervision teams is available here After accessing this information, potential applicants should discuss their preferred project(s) with the named contact(s) and with their support as necessary, develop a 3-5 page proposal to accompany their application.

Entry requirements:

Applicants for this studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a minimum of a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate subject area such as medicine, nursing, allied health disciplines, biomedical sciences, health science, data science, psychology or social science. Ideally, they should also be able to demonstrate experience of, or interest in, primary care research.

If English is not your first language you will need to meet the required level as per our guidance at

How to apply

A link to the application system is provided via the advert here: Funded PhD in Primary Care Research Ref: 5097

In the application process you will be asked to upload several documents. 

  • CV
  • Letter of application (outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake the project).
  • Research proposal (3-5 pages)
  • Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained (if available, this should be an interim transcript if you are still studying)
  • Names of two referees familiar with your academic work. You are not required to obtain references yourself. We will request references directly from your referees if you are shortlisted.
  • If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your proficiency in English.

The closing date for applications is midnight on  Sun 2nd June 2024. Interviews for the studentship will be held on during the week commencing  10th June 2024 (day TBC).

If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email or phone 0300 555 60 60 (UK callers) +44 (0) 1392 723044 (EU/International callers)  Project-specific queries should be directed to the contacts above and general questions about the SPCR studentship to Dr Jane Smith (

Full information for each project (.docx)

Please visit the SPCR website for more details on the Wellcome programme: Applications for 2025 start will open in Autumn 2024.