Foundation series

The Foundation grants “essential support” to researchers in general medicine

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Applications for the 2022 RACGP Foundation Grants and Fellowships open March 1.

Applications for the 2022 RACGP Foundation Grants and Scholarships are available on the RACGP website.


The RACGP Foundation grants and fellowship program is designed to demonstrate to GPs and GPs-in-training that GP research is a respected and viable career path, providing an evidence base to inform and improve the practice and patient outcomes.


According to Dr Elizabeth Sturgiss, recipient of the 2021 RACGP Foundation/HCF Research Foundation Fellowship, the Foundation provides an ideal opportunity to develop “big ideas” and make a valuable contribution to the Australian healthcare system.


“The foundation is essential support for researchers in general medicine,” she said. newsGP.


“Everyone has heard of the growing difficulties in seeking research funding. Grants are a great opportunity to get funding to explore new ideas and learn more about how and why general practice really works.


Dr. Sturgiss said general medicine researchers from local university departments can help turn ideas into a strong research proposal that is feasible for application.


Among other projects, his 2021 award-winning research project, “Change talk: Supporting high-quality behavior change in general practice,” builds on his 2019 RACGP Foundation/Diabetes Australia Fellowship, and investigates how GPs can be better supported to provide high-quality, evidence-based behavior change consultations for patients.


“We will work with GPs and nurse practitioners to find out what interests them most, and how best to access improved behavior change skills,” said Dr Sturgiss.


“Behaviour change is an essential part of the GP profession to support patients with all kinds of behaviors, from remembering to take the right medications, to smoking, alcohol and nutrition.


“I was lucky enough to receive a scholarship [in 2019] to learn more about the “5As” and how they work in clinical practice, [leading] a team of researchers who bring skills from different parts of primary care as well as international research experts.


The Real 5As project will develop a “deep and nuanced understanding” of how and why the 5As work in general practice for patients with type 2 diabetes.


Dr Sturgiss said that through a series of qualitative interviews with type 2 diabetes patients, their GPs and behavior change experts, the project:

  • identify important factors missing from current general practice guidelines for lifestyle change for patients with type 2 diabetes
  • inform specialist training and CPD for general practitioners and nurse practitioners.

“The results of this study have the potential to influence the care received by people with type 2 diabetes to improve their quality of life, health outcomes and overall mortality,” said Dr. Sturgiss.

“They will also inform future policies relating to the management of type 2 diabetes in Australia, while helping to reduce the $292 million spent each year in healthcare costs attributed to diabetes-related complications.”

Reiterating the benefits of applying for a fellowship, Dr. Sturgiss emphasizes the importance of continued investment and participation in general practice research.

“General medicine is a specialty based on high-quality research, but many areas remain to be explored,” she said.

“Over time, the GP research community is growing stronger, with more GPs interested in research after seeing the benefits for their own clinical practice.

“It’s important that GPs are involved in GP research because we understand how GPs work on a day-to-day basis and we often see what patients really need in the community.”

Applications for the 2022 RACGP Foundation Grants and Scholarships are available on the RACGP website.

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