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Purpose: The proposed CoPER project (Community of Practice for Engaging in Research) responds to a need for increased research capacity in a clinical setting. We put forward an argument and a design for a prospective action research project to extend research capacity via an integrated academic and practitioner community of practice in an Emergency Department (ED). Procedures: This paper explores the research needs of clinicians, articulates the concept of community of practice in light of these needs, and outlines the rationale for considering communities of practice as a potential contributor to building research capacity in a clinical setting. Findings: A potential methodology is suggested to test the linkage between research needs, the concept of a community of practice model in a clinical setting, and the contribution of such a model to building research capacity in a clinical setting via the CoPER framework. Conclusions: Combined data from this proposed mixed method action research (survey, focus groups, interviews, observation) are expected to enable the production of a set of facilitators and enablers with a view to building a community of research practice which make the case study transferable to other clinical and non-clinical work settings.