Background: Practice based research networks enable the study of primary care problems in a primary care setting. To be successful, our experience indicates that a network will need to incorporate a number of key components. In South Australia, a University Family Practice Network has been established to undertake primary health care research and teaching and to contribute to the general practice workforce. The University Family Practice Network is composed of five practices and is managed jointly by the Department of General Practice, Adelaide University and the South Australian Centre for Rural and Remote Health, Adelaide University and the University of South Australia.
Objective: This article details the successful establishment of the University Family Practice Network in the hope of providing a model for other universities who may be interested in setting up a practice based research network.
Discussion: The characteristics of this network include fractional academic positions for general practitioners, computerised medical records, location in rural and urban sites, regular meetings and the appointment of a research fellow. A number of benefits have arisen since the network's establishment that will assist its future development and sustainability. These include collocation with allied health services, development of local expertise and workforce support.