The Victorian Primary Care Practice-Based Research Network (VicReN) is a collaboration between the Primary Care Research Unit, Department of General Practice at the University of Melbourne, and primary care practices around Victoria.

Established in 2007, VicReN is an exciting new venture that we hope will spur the development of important and high quality primary care research in Victoria that is relevant to clinical practice and through this to primary care policy-making.

What is VicReN?

VicReN is a practice-based research network (PBRN). PBRNs work by bringing primary care practitioners (GPs, practice nurses, community and allied health practitioners) together with academic GPs and other researchers in long-term collaborations to conduct research that matters to practitioners and that makes a difference to the delivery of primary care.

Both sides benefit. Practitioners have the opportunity to develop their research skills and to investigate clinical questions they are interested in, while academic GPs and researchers can access practitioners’ expertise and experience, as well as a practice base.

PBRNs make possible research of a scale and quality that would otherwise be beyond the individual practitioner, and help ensure that it is firmly grounded in the reality of day-to-day primary care.

Why does Victoria need a PBRN?

Good health practice, health policy and health service planning rely upon relevant, high quality research. Although most health care occurs in the community, research in community settings receives very little funding in comparison to hospital or laboratory-based research.

One reason for this is that conducting research involving patients, practitioners or systems out in the community is logistically challenging. By providing an infrastructure to support practice-based research, PBRNs can help overcome these difficulties and help generate research that is relevant to both clinical practice and health policy.

VicReN represents a new opportunity to participate in the establishment of practice-based research across both urban and rural settings in Victoria.


Improved delivery of primary care in Victoria.


To encourage the conduct of evidence-based primary care practice in Victoria by:

  • supporting collaborative practice-based primary care research that makes a difference to health outcomes and experiences of care in areas in which the network has expertise and experience:
  • providing practices with the opportunity to engage in research, and access research expertise and other development opportunities available through DGP and the University of Melbourne;
  • providing DGP researchers with access to practitioners’ expertise and a practice base; and
  • actively disseminating research network findings to network members and to relevant policy-makers.

Governance and Structure

VicReN comprises a group of lead research practitioners (VicReN Committee) and a second group of research practitioners (Researcher Members).

The PCRU Advisory Group provides high-level strategic direction and ensures that VicReN goals are aligned with those of the PCRU. A VicReN Committee member holds a post on the PCRU Advisory Group, which meets face-to-face biannually.

The VicReN Committee provides operational guidance to the network and advice on many issues including the network’s membership and research agenda.

The VicReN Coordinator, based at the Department of General Practice at the University of Melbourne, administers the network. This includes linking members into ethical research projects, academic research course opportunities, university and wider research community events and research skills building literature and programs, as well as building knowledge of the network with stakeholders. The VicReN Coordinator works in association with the Primary Health Care Research, Evaluation and Development Coordinator to develop and deliver research capacity building initiatives.

All procedures, regulations and roles and responsibilities of those involved in the network are set out in a network charter (to be developed by the VicReN Committee). VicReN’s members and governing structures are mutually accountable and to external funding bodies, and will report annually on network activities (including research outcomes), funding, and expenditure.


Why would you want to get involved?

If you are:

  • passionate about contributing to advancing the field of primary care;
  • interested in mental health, chronic disease, youth health, complementary medicine and other important primary care areas;
  • looking for something a bit different to complement your daily work;
  • wanting to be part of the 'bigger picture' of primary health care;
  • wanting to acquire research skills; or
  • interested in meeting fellow primary health practitioners who share your interest in research, new knowledge or better practice

Membership is free, by application, and open to any primary care practitioner – GPs, practice nurses, community and allied health professionals, and primary care stakeholders. There are three categories of members – VicReN Committee member, or research practitioner member, or subscriber member. Membership is reviewed every two years by the VicReN Committee. Members may elect to change their membership type by informing the VicReN Coordinator.

The VicReN Membership Form is available for: Download (PDF 189KB)

Membership category



VicReN Committee member
  1. Must attend all quarterly VicReN Committee meetings where possible
  2. Must participate in at least one study in a 12 month period
  3. Must attend research project meetings as required
  1. Opportunity for involvement at all stages of research process
  2. Ongoing access to research training and expertise as well as other development opportunities available through the Department of General Practice or University of Melbourne
  3. Assistance with practice surveys
  4. Receive a quarterly VicReN newsletter
  5. Receive regular e-bulletins
  6. Individual practitioners able to apply for honorary clinical affiliate titles
Research practitioner members
  1. Must participate in at least one study in a three year period
  2. When involved in a study, must attend research project meetings as required.

Ongoing benefits:

  1. Informed of all research opportunities and events via email
  2. Receive a quarterly VicReN newsletter
  3. Receive regular VicReN e-bulletins

Benefits when participating in a study:

  1. Opportunity for involvement at all stages of research process
  2. Reimbursement for involvement in studies
  3. Access to research training and expertise available through the Department of General Practice
Subscriber members  
  1. Informed of all research opportunities via email
  2. Receive a quarterly VicReN newsletter
  3. Receive regular VicReN e-bulletins
  4. Members may have to pay to attend VicReN events

Academic Staff

Chair of the Primary Care Research Unit

The Chair's role is primarily to ensure that the VicReN Committee carries out its role aligned with the objectives of the PCRU in an efficient manner, and oversees the functioning of a properly informed Committee. The Chair of PCRU will represent VicReN to outside parties and act as spokesperson.

VicReN Committee Chair

The Chair's role is to assist the Chair of PCRU and to take on the roles and responsibilities of the Chair of PCRU in absence. The VicReN Committee Chair will work with the VicReN Coordinator to finalise the meeting agendas, will lead the meeting through the agenda, keeping discussion relevant, decision-making clear, and encouraging broad discussion. The Chair will confirm meeting minutes as an accurate record of the previous meeting.

Director of Research Training

The Director of Research Training will advise the VicReN Committee in regard to research and research training opportunities by linking members with existing events and tailoring materials and events where necessary. The Director will ensure that the VicReN Committee activities are in line with the Primary Care Research Unit Research and Research Training meeting goals and activities.


The Coordinator’s role is to ensure meetings are made in a timely fashion and arranged at a suitable location. The Coordinator must ensure the agenda is disseminated prior to each meeting and the minutes are disseminated with action points shortly afterwards. The Coordinator will oversee the administrative duties related to the VicReN Committee.

Contact Us

VicReN Coordinator
Primary Care Research Unit
Department of General Practice
University of Melbourne
200 Berkeley Street
Carlton VIC 3053

Telephone: +61 3 8344 7276