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The International Primary Care

Research Training Curriculum

Background and outline of the curriculum


The International Primary Research Training Curriculum was launched in 1993, as a joint initiative of the Departments of General Practice of the universities of Maastricht (Netherlands), Leuven, Antwerp and Ghent (Flanders - Belgium). More recent, the universities of Amsterdam (Netherlands), Rostock (initially Düsseldorf) and Marburg (Germany), and Brussels (Belgium) joined. Over the years, a large number of (beginning) researchers, from a variety of European countries, successfully followed the different modules. Many participants stayed actively involved (most of them part time) in research relevant for their (clinical) domain, whereas some even made it to an (associate) professorship. The teaching staff, mostly primary care clinicians, are all involved for many years in teaching and carrying out research at an international level.

Aims of the training

To impart the necessary knowledge, understanding and skills, in order to do, under supervision, original scientific research in primary care (in particular general practice and family medicine), and to analyze and report it, on a level required for publication in a peer reviewed journal.

Target groups

Start class (year 1): general practitioners and primary health care workers interested in learning basic skills for doing small scale research relevant for their (clinical) work. Advanced course (year 2): those who successfully passed (an equivalent of) year 1 and wish to proceed to larger research project, including studies on a PhD level.

Curriculum structure

The curriculum consists of a two year program. Year 1 (Start class) includes one full course week. Year 2 (Advanced course) consists of three workshops of 2 ½ days each. We can make adjustments on request.

Objectives of the curriculum

The participant to the Start class …..

  • knows how to select a relevant topic for research
  • knows how to select a problem definition and research question
  • knows how to trace and critically appraise relevant literature
  • knows the fundamentals of qualitative and quantitative research
  • knows how to select the proper research design and outcome measures
  • knows how to do interviews and set up an observational study
  • knows how to deal with reliability, validity, bias and confounding
  • knows how to apply basis statistics using SPSS
  • knows how to write an abstract and present to an audience

The participant to the first workshop of the Advanced course ……

  • knows how to do a systematic review
  • knows how to set up diagnostic and prognostic research
  • knows how to set up cost-effectiveness research
  • knows how to set up an intervention study
  • knows how to select mixed, complex and exotic designs
  • knows how to apply randomization and blinding
  • knows how to do deal with Power and do a sample size calculation
  • knows how to do data collection and management
  • knows how to do focus group research
  • knows how to analyze qualitative research data
  • knows how to do multi-variable and multi-level analysis
  • knows how to deal with ethical issues and committees
  • knows how to write and submit a full manuscript
  • knows how to become a journal reviewer
  • knows how to set up a journal club
  • knows how to build up a research network
  • knows how to apply for research funding

Course language


Course leaders

  • Professor Geert-Jan Dinant – Maastricht University – Netherlands
  • Professor Paul van Royen – University of Antwerp – Belgium
  • Assistent Professor Eric Moll van Charante – University of Amsterdam - Netherlands
  • Professor Attila Altiner – University of Rostock – Germany
  • Professor Norbert Donner-Banzhoff – University of Marburg – Germany

Course manager

Mrs. Karin Aretz, MSc – Maastricht University – Netherlands

Course venues

Maastricht and Amsterdam (Netherlands) – Antwerp (Belgium) – Marburg (Germany)


Lectures and problem-based learning are the teaching methods. Participants bring the research project they are currently working on (Advanced course) or have in mind to start with (Start class). Every participant leaves the course (Start class and Advanced course) with a plan for further elaboration on his/her research project. It is expected that participants find (further) supervision in their own setting. During the course, participants are challenged to identify and bring in problems and challenges they face with regard to their research project, and discuss those in small tutorial groups. In addition, the course leaders are available for individual consultations on the research projects. Every course is completed with live presentations by all participants of their scientific work.

Career perspective

Participants to the courses listed above may follow the following training career path:


Highest level

Associate and full professorships in primary care

Post-graduate level

The Brisbane    Initiative – International Advanced Education for Primary Care Research

The International    Primary Care Research Training Curriculum

European General Practitioners Research Network (EGPRN) -    basic research course for general practitioners

Pre-graduate level

General practice research training and electives for    medical students – delivered by Medical     School