EOIs for education research grants now open

Morgan Liotta

17/04/2024 4:48:55 PM

The RACGP program provides substantial grants annually to fuel innovative research initiatives in general practice training.

Dr Katie Fisher
GP researcher Dr Katie Fisher’s experience on the ERG program has been ‘overwhelmingly positive’.

The catalyst for Dr Katie Fisher’s research project was inspired by her own experiences as a general practice registrar, when she became interested in understanding what teaching experiences registrars had during their training, and how registrar teaching capacity could be increased.
‘We know that there are numerous benefits for registrars who teach during training, and there are an increasing number of medical students year-on-year requiring GP placements, so it has never been more important to increase teaching capacity in general practice,’ she told newsGP.
Her project, ‘The experiences of GP registrars as teachers in Australian general practice: A qualitative study’, would not have been possible without support from the RACGP’s Education Research Grant (ERG) program.
With a specific focus on education improvement, the program aims to continue building research capacity in medical education and training for general practice. The RACGP is currently calling for Expressions of Interest to address 2025 ERG priority areas, which include attraction and recruitment in to general practice training and building positive training experiences, particularly for international medical graduates.
The main objective of the ERG is to develop evidence-based education initiatives that increase training capacity and improve educational outcomes in Australian general practice training.
‘My experience on the program has been overwhelmingly positive,’ Dr Fisher said.
‘The grants come with a significant amount of support from the RACGP, including workshop days where you receive feedback on your project from other researchers, and learn from more experienced primary care academics.
‘These workshop days also double as great networking opportunities and really adds to the overall ERG experience.’
Dr Fisher currently splits her time between clinical work in Newcastle and part-time general practice research in the RACGP GP Training Research Department, as well as being a conjoint lecturer at the University of Newcastle.
Prior to gaining Fellowship in 2022, she was an academic registrar with the same university in 2021, which was her first ‘enjoyable’ foray into general practice research.
‘I really loved the variety of my working week and found that this increased my job satisfaction,’ she said.
‘In terms of the research work, I find it really fulfilling to take a research question and turn that into a project with deliverable outcomes, which will hopefully improve general practice training for future cohorts.’
While the ERG program helped to fund her project, it also provided a stable bridge for implementation into the general practice setting.
‘We have been really fortunate to have early translation of our findings into practice, with the addition of a new registrar medical educator role in one of the training regions in Australia, as a by-product of a focus group with medical educators, so that is really exciting,’ she said.
‘At this stage, we are continuing the thematic analysis and beginning to write up our findings, so we are nearing the dissemination phase.’
Dr Fisher and her team have also discussed their early findings with a 2024 ERG team, INTERACT Phase 2, led by Professor Caroline Johnson at the University of Melbourne, whose pilot program will support registrars to teach medical students in general practice.
‘I look forward to ongoing collaboration with researchers working in this space,’ she said.
‘I would definitely recommend that interested GP researchers apply for the ERG program. I felt really well supported as an early-career researcher and the program was a great way to meet other GP researchers, network, and receive feedback on my research project.
‘This has been a really nice transition from my academic post and I look forward to working on future ERG projects.’
The ERG program offers annual grants supporting projects of varying scopes and durations. In 2025, eight $150,000 grants are available for impactful 12-month initiatives.
Applications for the 2025 ERG program are open until 31 May. Eligible research teams can apply through a two-stage process, starting with the submission of an Expression of Interest. More information is available on the RACGP website.
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Education Research Grant program general practice research general practice training GPs in training

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