Academic clinical fellowships in General Practice (Primary Care)

The Academic Unit of Primary Medical Care (AUPMC) combines research and undergraduate teaching in primary care.

The Yorkshire and Humber School of Primary Care and the AUPMC in Sheffield offer academic foundation trainee attachments each year (research or medical education projects). We also submit an annual bid for ‘formula’ and competition interdisciplinary theme associated General Practice posts within the NIHR academic clinical fellowships and academic clinical lectureships programme.

The unit offers an excellent environment for integrated clinical academic training with a weekly seminar programme and research theme workshops for our diverse group of clinical and non-clinical primary care researchers and teachers, and undergraduate and postgraduate research students. This environment fosters interdisciplinary high quality research within the unit, across the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health and particularly with the internationally renowned ScHARR (Sheffield School of Health and Related Research, 4th in the UK for research ‘power’). Our themes are summarised below:

  • Healthcare delivery
  • Intervention implementation
  • Biopsychosocial medicine
  • Epidemiology mechanisms
  • Reducing health inequity
  • New roles and workforce; social rx and accountability, and vulnerable groups

Our research seeks to understand and improve the way the primary care health service works for patients. It focuses on common but hard to manage conditions such as persistent, ‘medically-unexplained’ physical symptoms, epilepsy and lung disease in high-risk populations. It emphasizes the importance of addressing health inequalities by matching services to the most vulnerable in society including those with high levels of socioeconomic deprivation or recent migration. Our research aims to inform health services about how practitioners should provide care and which healthcare practitioners should provide it.

Academic clinical fellow post-holders are supported to identify and conduct projects linked to departmental strengths, including persistent physical symptoms (Burton), the overlap of mental health and physical health problems (Mitchell), neurology (Dickson), health service delivery and use (all investigators) and medical education. Within these broad topics we use a wide range of methodologies and the post-holders are encouraged to use and understand a range of qualitative and quantitative methods. All investigators are also members of themed groups within the Faculty of Medicine and ScHARR, providing additional opportunities for fellows to engage in projects directly linked to strong interdisciplinary programmes of work.

The first two years of the academic clinical fellow speciality training programme involve standard GP training in hospital training posts in South Yorkshire, with some time to attend sessions at the AUPMC and an NIHR academic bursary to support research modules in ScHARR towards a PGCertRes. In years 3 and 4, trainees are attached to a general training practice in the Sheffield area with 50% of their time devoted to clinical training and 50% to research training and carrying out a project under the supervision of a senior primary care academic.

We encourage academic clinical fellows to experience different skills and approaches at this stage, so that they develop a broad theoretical base. We aim to match their clinical interests to existing programmes in order that they work within an expert team. Our aim is that by the end of the fellowship, fellows can make informed choices about their preferred methodologies and topic and are well placed to take these forward to apply for an in-practice or doctoral fellowship.

Academic clinical lecturers (ACLs) will also be supervised by a senior academic in developing a distinctive, personal research portfolio. This should lead to the acquisition of research funding, strengthening of their publication record, and ultimately developing an application for a post-doctoral research fellowship. ACLs in General Practice will already have completed their clinical training and a PhD. ACL posts are split 50:50 between clinical and academic work. They will integrate further academic and clinical development at a point where the post-holders should be aiming to embark on a career as independent researchers.

Academic programme enquiries

Enquires about the Sheffield posts should be directed to:

Dr Caroline Mitchell, AUPMC and Faculty Deputy Training Programme Director,

or Professor Chris Burton, Head of AUPMC,

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