Academic Foundation to Clinical Research Fellow: Dr Rebecca Gosling describes her journey.




Academic Clinical Fellowships

What is an Academic Clinical Fellowship?

An Academic Clinical Fellowship combines medical training with academic training. An ACF programme runs over 3 years (4 for GPs). During this time the ACF will rotate through clinical posts to obtain competencies relevant to their level of training. The ACF has a total of 25% protected research time, taken in blocks or sometimes as one day a week - arrangements are tailored to the individual post.

What does the Academic Placement involve?

The ACF undergoes training in the generic skills required for a clinical academic: scientific methods, statistics, research governance, critical appraisal of research publication, grant writing etc. Modules are chosen from those provided for the MSc in Clinical Research or continuing professional development. Trainees can choose the modules most relevant to them. The major part of the academic placement will be scientific research which can lead to a proposal for a PhD project, funding for which will be sought from an external body such as the NIHR, MRC or the Wellcome Trust. Generally the preparation of the proposal is based on preliminary experimental data gathered while on the research placement.

The opportunities have been amazing: formal teaching, research qualifications, direct support of my own research and particularly networking which has opened more doors. The ACF has broadened and enriched my career.

David Pallot, Academic Clinical Fellow in Emergency Medicine

Who can apply for an ACF?

Individuals who have achieved competencies relevant to the level of post advertised and can demonstrate that they have outstanding potential for development as a clinical academic in research and/or education. Individuals may have had previous clinical academic experience either at an undergraduate level (BMedSci) or postgraduate level (F2 Academic placement, MSc). For more details on eligibility please see the NIHRTCC webpages. Posts are generally offered at ST1 or ST3, depending on the specialty.

How do I apply for an ACF?

For details of the specialties available and how to apply visit the Health Education Yorkshire and the Humber website

In 2018, The University of Sheffield were awarded their largest ever cohort of NIHR ACF posts (23) across all specialties. 

Want to know more? Contact one of our current ACFs for the inside view:

Dr Matthew Clark, ACF in Trauma & Orthopedics since 2016

Dr Roshan Gunasekera, ACF in Sports & Exercise Medicine since 2016

Dr Melody Redman, ACF in Paediatrics since 2016

What next after an ACF?

A successful ACF will obtain competencies relevant to their level of training and obtain external funding for a higher degree (research training fellowship). In the event that an ACF fails to obtain external funding for a higher degree or wishes to leave the clinical academic training pathway, they can apply to move into an available clinical position.