The performance of Canada's primary care sector remains lacklustre relative to other wealthy industrialized countries, and it has been suggested that a lack of investment in research and evaluation may be a cause. One approach to improving and sustaining primary care research is through research networks. Over the past few years, significant investments have begun to be made in developing primary care networks in Canada. While Canadian experience in this area is relatively new, in the United Kingdom primary care research networks were first established in the 1980s. Initially developed at a local level, these have more recently been incorporated into large-scale national networks. This paper reviews the UK experience and highlights potential lessons for the development of networks in Canada.