Community and Primary Care research group

Our research is conducted through the involvement of practitioners, and the public, who are instrumental in helping to develop focused research questions and in designing projects.

We use a range of research methods, qualitative and quantitative, to solve pressing and often complex research problems. Our research is often directed towards those individuals who are the most excluded or disempowered, have mental health problems and have difficulty accessing services.

Community and Primary Care Research is led and co-ordinated by Professor Richard Byng.

Covid-19 research

The COVID-19 crisis has produced opportunities for new relationships and new research, please click on the COVID-19 research projects below for more information on our current related projects that we have received funding for. Our group has been working in Plymouth, initially supporting the development of the acute COVID-19 general practice hub and producing a discussion paper on how best to operate such hubs.

Find out more about our research

Recently completed projects

  • Avoidable Acute Admissions​ (NIHR) - this NIHR HS&DR funded project is investigating how clinician expertise and decision making in four hospitals in South West England can contribute to safely reducing acute admissions​.
  • Engager 1 (NIHR) - developing a model for engagement and demonstrating feasibility of a trial for prison leavers.
  • COCOA - investigating access to and continuity of health care for offenders.
  • EARS (NIHR-HTA) - A pilot RCT to assess the methods and procedures for evaluating the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of an Exercise Assisted Reduction then Stop (EARS) counselling support delivered by health trainers, among disadvantaged smokers in Devonport and Stonehouse.
  • BAcPAc - (MRC - National Prevention Research Initiative - 4 funded) - Parallel-group feasibility randomised controlled trial comparing a Psychological Well-being Practitioner supported self-help intervention combining behavioural activation and physical activity promotion (BAcPAc) with behavioural activation alone for adults receiving treatment for depression in IAPT Services in Plymouth and East / Mid Devon​.
  • South West Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (SHA) - investigating the implementation of the national IAPT programme.
  • Community Health Networks (NIHR) - understanding how networks contribute to recovery for people with severe mental illness.
  • e-coachER - investigating the effects of adding web-based coaching to an exercise referral scheme.
  • Person-Centred Coordinated Care (PCCC) - care that is guided by and organised effectively around the needs and preferences of the individual.
  • STRENGTHEN - Improving health for those under community supervision, with the support of a Health Trainer.
  • Trial of physical Activity and Reduction of Smoking (TARS) a national study to test the effectiveness of new support to help smokers who want to reduce but not quit.
  • PHASED: A systematic review of physical activity for alcohol and substance use disorders.



NIHR ARC South West Peninsula (PenARC)

The National Institute of Health Research Applied Research Collaboration (PenARC) for the South West Peninsula.

PenARC is a partnership between the University of Plymouth, the University of Exeter and NHS organisations across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset.

Learn more about PenARC