Primary Health Care Scientists - PHoCuS

Emily Fletcher will be take over from Sue as co-lead along with Julia... watch this space for updates!***

Primary Healthcare Scientists (PHoCuS) make up around half of the APC workforce.  APC derives its strength from its mutidisciplinary workforce. In 2012, the Society started work to understand and address the career development needs of our members who don't come from a medically qualified background. The request to form a support group came from two medically qualified SAPC members - Professor Helen Lester and Professor Peter Croft. We thank both of them for helping SAPC establish the group; Helen for her vision and belief in the added value PHoCuS members brought to APC, and Peter for identifying a start up fund of £5k. The result was the establishment of our PHoCuS Group by Professor Christine Bond and Professor Sandra Eldridge in 2012, who both co-lead the group for five highly successful years before standing down in 2017. 

Professor Suzanne Richards and Dr Julia Hiscock now lead a team of PHoCuS members developing a range of support for our members.

Whilst a range of activities take place across the year, the PHoCuS group always meet annually at the Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) except at the virtual meeting in 2021.  This meeting provides PHoCuS members with an update of the activities that have taken place in the previous year, as well as giving PHoCuS staff an opportunity to raise issues that they would like to be considered by the SAPC executive. It is also a great way for researchers new to academic primary care to meet colleagues with similar professional backgrounds to themselves.  

Growing support

Mentorship programme

One of the great successes of the group has been the implementation of the mentorship programme.  PHoCuS continues to expand, both in terms of members and activities. The group  leads a number of Getting On resources for SAPC members:

  • The mentorship programme
  • PHoCuS meetings timetabled in to national and regional conferences
  • Our regular #PHoCuS initiative on Twitter (@sapcacuk) highlights research and teaching by primary healthcare scientists
  • Virtual meetings on hot topics - recently these have focussed on fellowships
  • Identifying and bringing together groups within our discipline eg sociologists and health scientists, psychologists.

Applying for a fellowship?

Fellowships are one route to developing a research portfolio towards becoming a leader in health research. They can be a useful way of funding people’s time, research projects and training development. Fellowships are available from a range of funders to support people at different points in their research path. For more information and help.


The champions make sure that ideas discussed at our meetings are put in to action.  There are different types of champions (regional, discipline, social media), and we thank them all for the efforts they put in to making the PHoCuS group a success.

Regional meeting champions

VACANCIES: We are looking for new regional champions for 'Northern Ireland', 'Scotland' and 'Wales' (working with the South West champion). If you are interested in becoming a champion in another region, there are often opportunities to role share with existing champions to share activities. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact Julia Hiscock or Suzanne Richards.

Sandra Jumbe (South East and London)

Katie Mills (South East)

Emily Fletcher (South West)

Emma Healy (The North)

Liz Orton (East Midlands)

Sarah Rodgers (East Midlands)

Get in touch

If you would like more information on the work of PHoCuS, or you’d like to get involved as a either mentor or mentee, please contact either Professor Suzanne Richards or Dr Julia Hiscock