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Aimed to encourage careers in academic primary care, the School's internship programme offers medical students a unique opportunity to join a research team for hands-on experience in one of our partner departments, for a few weeks over the summer.

UCL's Nathan Jeffreys presenting a poster at the SPCR Showcase.


I feel like a lot of the critical thinking I was able to do this summer will, in the long run, influence the ways I approach medicine in the future

The initiative hopes to enhance the experiences offered to medical students by providing them with first-hand involvement in a research environment and access to a team of specialised mentors and supervisors. By the end of the programme, interns produce a piece of primary care focussed academic work and an opportunity to present at the School’s annual showcase event.

The programme came about to address some of the issues identified by the 2016 Health Education England and the Medical Schools Council published ‘By choice – not by chance’. The report considers the concerns faced when recruiting medical students to careers in general practice and highlights the need for greater collaboration to raise the academic profile of general practice. As such, two new initiatives were introduced by the SPCR: The Medical Student Prize named after Professor of Academic Primary Care George Lewith, and most recently in early 2018, the Medical Student Internship programme.


The internship was brilliant. It really ignited my passion for research and academic general practice. I gained fundamental skills in working with a research group. I learnt about conducting systematic/restricted reviews; from developing the protocol and search strategy to screening papers, extracting data and writing in the style of an academic manuscript."

The School was encouraged by the enthusiasm and uptake during the first year of the programme in 2018. The research experience and mentoring resulted in some remarkably positive responses from both interns and supervisors alike. We would like to thank the students for the positive contribution they have made to the School's most recent capacity initiative, mentors, supervisors, and the research teams and departments for hosting them.  

 "During my 3 years of studying  I’ve always been interested in qualitative research and its impact on clinical practice, especially in a primary care setting. Despite my interest I’d never had the opportunity to carry out or be involved in any qualitative research during University. This internship was brilliant in developing my skills in qualitative analysis.  I was well supported during the internship and therefore was able to ask questions, had regular meetings and learn from my supervisors. During the internship I enjoyed gaining a better understanding of how qualitative research is carried out- from the initial steps of coding and creating themes to thinking in the greater context of how pieces of qualitative research are produced with the aim of publication. I enjoyed being a part of the team I was involved in and finding out about the diverse range of projects which were taking place.  This internship has made me think about the direction of my future career and the potential of undertaking more qualitative research in the future alongside my clinical work"


asked about the most useful aspect of the programme, responses included:

  • The environment – being around so many interesting people with passion for their work. 
  • Involvement in qualitative research and the methodology
  • Crystalising statistical and epidemiological knowledge
  • Learning how policy is developed for a specific problem when there are no guidelines which exist and the process in which working groups identify these issues and help to identify how new guidelines can be generated and piloted and reviewed
  • Using fresh data sets and large data sets and using statistical software
  • The opportunity to develop skills in self management and be proactive in identifying projects
  • The opportunity to design and carry out a research study 
  • Introduction to new research methodology
  •  Gain more exposure to quantitative data analysis
  • To see how primary care researchers divide their time between clinical and academic work
  • Valuable insights into the world of academic and epidemiological research 
  • Experience working on publications
  • Interview analysis, working on both quantitative and qualitative studies and an understanding of how they work together to validate findings
  • The opportunity to get to know an international public health dataset in detail, of identifying its strengths and weaknesses, or assessing validity of measures, and whether the measures capture what they were indended to capture 


The key learning points are that: academic medicine requires passion and determination in order to generate outcomes from the research. A researcher needs to be an efficient delegator of tasks in order to make progress in addressing a complex problem as the good thing about working in large groups is that other members of the group will have different skill sets."

 " I was able to construct my own data analysis and draw relevant conclusions. I now have invaluable experience and skills gained in using statistics programmes which I am determined to work on in the future."

"I was fortunate to be able to work on several papers in different stages of production, from the first research protocol to writing up the final publication. I was surprised to see how detailed a research protocol had to be to ensure that the researcher’s ambitions met ethical standards and would produce valid and useful results."

"I was surprised to see the how detailed a research protocol had to be to ensure that the researcher’s ambitions met ethical standards and would produce valid and useful results. Following this, I was really interested to see, once interviews had been conducted, how thoroughly they were analysed, with researchers going through each interview multiple times each with a different thematic focus. I also learnt the importance of gaining consent from both patients and healthcare professionals."

"I feel grateful to have been given the opportunity to experience working with a new department, a new field of research, and an exciting project, and am looking forward to applying the quantitative and methodical critical thinking toolkit I gained this summer to future academic and research endeavours. Thank you very, very much for this"


Highly recommend the internship. Really grateful for all the support I continue to receive from my supervisors. They’ve encouraged me to push this project all the way to conference presentations and publications."

Supervisors Host institution
Alisha Bhanot 
Restricted review of published data on adverse events from emollient use in eczema
Matthew Ridd Bristol
Jonathan Bowley
A metanarrative review of the how AI techniques are being applied to improving patient safety 
Chrysanthi Papoutsi Nottingham
Susan Bromley
Perspectives on unexpected weight loss as a precursor to a cancer diagnosis: a qualitative secondary analysis
Brian Nicholson Sue Ziebland Oxford
Thomas Greenslade
The extent of medication complexity in UK general practice

Rupert Payne
Rachel Denholm

Kyle Hallas
Development of ‘Timeliness in Response’ Appropriateness Ratings in Relation to the Management of Post-AKI Patients in Primary Care
Thomas Blakeman Manchester

Aaron Henry

  1. Cognitive and behavioural strategies for weight loss in participants enrolled in the DROPLET Randomised Control Trial.
  2. Receiving dietary or weight loss advice for hypertension and diabetes: 25-year trends in the Health Survey for England

Nerys Astbury
Carmen Piernas-Sanchez

Nathan Jeffreys 
Exploring the causal factors for mental health problems experienced
by medical undergraduates in the United Kingdom: a realist review
Sophie Park UCL
Rachel Mackay
Using near peer GP speciality trainees (GPSTs) to inspire medical
students to choose a career within General Practice
Jaspal Taggar Nottingham

Zoe Morrice
Reviewing parents involvement, experiences and perspectives
of their child being involved in the ARCTIC trial

Gerry Leydon
Catherine Woods

Michael Reid
Multimorbidity, Frailty and Disability: Analysis of data from
the Newcastle 85+ Study
Barbara Hanratty,
Andrew Kingston
Jemma Stewart
A qualitative exploration of primary care providers’ views of facilitating and hindering factors for addressing alcohol misuse among older patients and clients 
Beth Bareham, Barbara Hanratty, Eileen Kaner Newcastle
Yousrah Uraiby
Social and physical health profiles in primary consulters for common musculoskeletal conditions; Operationalisation of the PROMIS short form tool in patients with musculoskeletal conditions
Ross Wilkie, Joanne Protheroe Keele
Rachel West
Fibromyalgia meta-analysis data collection
Adam Geraghty Southampton
Anna Wood
Analysis of the BRAcED study qualitative findings. Data collection for the CanRisk study. Quantitative data collection and entry for the ECASS study in GP practices throughout the east of England
Fiona Walter UCL
Jessica Xie
What features would undergraduate medical students value in the delivery of an undergraduate Culinary Medicine course?
Sophie Park, Shoba Poduval UCL
Ruiyang Yan
Herbal Alternative Treatment for lower Respiratory tract Infections with Cough in adults – Qualitative study
Merlin Wilcox, Dia Soilemezi Southampton
Beatrice Yeung
Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) progress - How does country implementation progress relate to objective measures of NCDs?
Luke Allen Oxford