GPs could earn GMS quality points by taking part in research, says Professor Paul Wallace, director of the Primary Care Research Network (PCRN).
Due for an April launch in England, the PCRN will offer GPs the chance to work with local universities on clinical trials.
Professor Wallace said: 'There's a possibility that in the not too distant future, taking part in research could become part of the quality framework.
'Participation in research translates statistically into better levels of care for patients.'
PCRN projects will focus on prevention, screening, early detection and long-term conditions treated in primary care.
Eight local research networks (LRNs) will coordinate projects in different parts of England.
GPs wanting to take part in a project would be funded by extra staff hours from the £2 million annual government investment into the scheme.
All practices will also receive training and education to help them carry out the trials.