There is frequently a substantial disconnect reported between educational research and classroom practice. It has been proposed that individuals operating at the intersection of research and practice can potentially strengthen the relationship between the two communities through transcending institutional boundaries. The current study involved semi-structured interviews with three such ‘hybrid professionals’, who were all currently working as teachers in Australian primary schools and had completed PhDs in mathematics education. The purpose of the interviews was to gain insight into their experiences, and associated professional identity structures. Thematic analysis revealed that all participants were motivated to pursue higher-degree research to enhance their practice through the opportunity to specialise and work with an expert in their field. Consequently, rather than the proposed disconnect, there was evidence that at least some researchers within primary mathematics education were viewed as exemplifying expert practice. By contrast, participant professional identity structures did not converge, but remained idiosyncratic. In particular, participants varied in relation to the complexity of their researcher identity when in the classroom teacher role. Several possible directions for future research are outlined.