The Primary Care Unit (PCU) offers a small number of Academic Clinical Fellow (ACF) posts each year. These posts are supported by Health Education England East of England and the National Institute for Health Research and are advertised when opportunities arise at either ST1 or ST3 level entry, often in October/November each year. From the start of the ACF post the Fellows undertake academic training alongside their clinical training programme, with the academic strand individually tailored to the needs of each Fellow.
To achieve this, the Fellows divide their time between clinical and academic posts with 12 months of protected academic time over the duration of the programme. In the past, Fellows have spent 6 months in clinical and academic general practice in the first year, followed by 18 months in hospital posts. This has then been followed by a further 9 months full time in the academic environment over the following 24 months, with the remainder in general practice. However, each Fellow has a unique timetable tailored to their circumstances and this pattern may change as clinical training programmes change.
For the academic component of the training, ACFs within the PCU are hosted by one of the 10 research groups where they benefit from individually tailored academic mentoring and supervision from a senior academic to develop knowledge, understanding and skills in research methods and medical education. This includes practical experience of research and opportunities to conduct and publish well defined personal research projects. All ACFs are also allocated a second supervisor and an advisor, with at least one of those an academic General practitioner who is able to support their development as an academic clinician. They also benefit from access to support from the PCU Methods Hub for advice on statistics, health economics and database management and expertise within the wider Department of Public Health and Primary Care and across the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.
Our ACFs are also encouraged to complete the University of Cambridge Masters Programme in Population Health Sciences, either full time over one year or part time over two years. The Primary Care Research theme within that programme has been developed specifically to provide ACFs with high level training in research methodology, including epidemiology, public health, biostatistics, and the use of routinely collected primary care record data. ACFs will also be encouraged and supported in applications for further research funding and/or an application for a doctoral training fellowship.
Blog by past ACF Dr Collette Isabel Stadler (August 2016): All risks are equal, but some risks are (apparently) more equal than others…
Since 2010 the Primary Care Unit has supported 22 ACFs. Many have successfully progressed to PhDs or further academic posts. Further information on where our former Fellows are now is available here – https://www.phpc.cam.ac.uk/pcu/education-and-training-overview/academic-registrar/former-acfs/
Testimonials of former ACFs
You can read about our former Academic Clinical Fellows experiences – here
Specific enquiries about the academic component of the Cambridge ACF scheme can be addressed to Dr Juliet Usher-Smith, Programme Director – email@example.com
Enquiries regarding the application process, Oriel, interview arrangements and similar should be directed to the Recruitment Helpdesk at HEE EoE. For urgent enquiries, tel: 0844 894 0179 Monday – Friday, between 08:00 – 16:00.
Further information on ACF posts and academic careers for General Practitioners is available from the following websites:
The General Practice National Recruitment Office website
The National Institute for Health Research Integrated Academic training
The Society of Academic Primary Care
The University of Cambridge Postgraduate Education and Clinical Academic Training Office
The Academy of Medical Science Guidelines for monitoring academic training and progress
Updated on 16 February 2023 (CT)