As primary health care disciplines evolve and strengthen both in Australia and internationally, primary care practitioners need to develop their research capacity at all levels. This paper discusses the changing face of primary health care and the emergence of primary care research networks as agents for research skills capacity building. Much can be learnt from international experiences, such as those in the United Kingdom, in terms of network models and approaches that have demonstrated successful outcomes including increased grant applications, research higher degree completions and publications. However, these outcomes are at least partly dependent on different contexts of health care services, and higher levels of funding. Enhancing change in Australian primary care research must take into account the Australian context, available resources, and be prepared to innovate in response to widely varying local and regional needs. The paper will discuss options and challenges for future directions in Australian research networks.