Clinical Academic Training



General questions about the programme

Who do I contact if I have a question or problem regarding my academic foundation programme?

Queries related to your Clinical Component

The best place to start is with the Foundation Programme Administrators, who are based in the Department of Medical Education in your NHS Trust. If they are unable to help you, they will be able to point you in the right direction of who to contact instead. 

Queries related to your Academic Component

You can either contact:

Professor Matt Bown
Director of Clinical Academic Training for the University of Leicester

Professor Jonathan Barratt
Head of School for Clinical Academic Training

How do I get access to journals?

To gain access to most journals, you will require logins. There are two login methods available to you, either via an NHS OpenAthens account and/or a University of Leicester IT account.

An NHS OpenAthens account is available to all NHS employees. It is free for you to use and has useful tools for literature searches, such as tracking your search history and eliminating duplicate records. Make a record of any articles that you are unable to get instant access to and send them to your hospital librarians who will be able to track down the copy for you. Go to NHS OpenAthens from a hospital-based computer and ensure you use a work email to sign up.

A University of Leicester IT account will be available from commencement of Foundation Year 1 provided you have completed and returned the University of Leicester Honorary Title form and signed letter of acceptance. For further information on this process please contact Mrs Lesley Clissold.

What happens during the academic placement?

This depends upon which Academic Training programme you are on:

Research-based academic training programme

What you do each day and where you work will broadly depend upon what your project is. You may be working in a lab, in a research office with a team, gathering data in a clinical setting or writing up a project from a research office or at home. The real difference between this placement and your others is that you are generally a lot more self-managed. This is the opportunity to “be your own boss”, set your own goals and work independently to complete your project.

What happens on my academic days?

The way you structure your academic time will be decided by you with your project supervisor and the Academic Foundation Programme. You should contact your supervisor well in advance of starting your FY2 year to clarify this.

Can I get involved in academic work when I am on my other Foundation placements?

Yes you can, and if you are thinking about a Clinical Academic career, this can be a great way of enhancing your CV and showing that you are a capable candidate. Be careful though, and remember that your primary goal is to complete your competencies and ePortfolio. F1 can be especially challenging at times for even the most able doctors, so ensure that you give yourself enough time to rest and relax!

How can the hospital libraries help?

Each hospital has a library with skilled and knowledgeable librarians. They can gain access to articles and journals for you that you may not be able to access, including applying to the British Library for articles that prove particularly difficult to track down. They can help you perform literature searches and can offer training in research and writing skills.

LNR Hospital Library services

Foundation e-Portfolio requirements

What do I do if a TAB round is held during my academic placement?

TAB rounds can be difficult as an academic trainee as they require a spread of raters from across a clinical team. If you are on your academic placement, you may not have a clinical team who you can easily ask.

Traditionally, the advice has been that as long as you can show a good variety of raters and get 10 of them, if you are on an academic placement you do not need to hit all of the categories of raters. You may find, however, that you work in such a small team that 10 is still a challenge. Consider asking colleagues from your previous placement to do a TAB for you. If you are unable to complete a TAB, you will have to do another one during your third F2 placement, which may affect your ARCP. As such, try your best to complete a TAB, but do not worry if you are unable to. If you have any questions about this please discuss with your educational supervisor.

How do I keep up with my Foundation competencies when I am on my Academic placement?

Academic Trainees spend only two thirds of their time on clinical placements but have to complete the same number of assessments as “normal” trainees. If you have a four month academic placement (rather than a day out each week), this can take a huge chunk out of the time available to you to complete your competencies, or leave you without the opportunity to “catch up” in the last placement.

The key to success is in planning your academic time. Use it for the more time-consuming competencies, such as completing your audit, doing your ALS and your SIM day, thus freeing up time during your clinical placements to complete your SLEs.

Project work

How do I organise a project?

Browse our list of academics willing to supervise Academic Foundation doctors.

Please contact potential supervisors in your aFY1 year to agree a project ahead of commencing aFY2. Once you have agreed your supervisor and project please confirm this to

What sort of projects might be suitable for me?

The University of Leicester offers a range of research projects from basic laboratory science through to qualitative and medical education research, so please think carefully about what type of project might suit you and your future career aspirations.

How do I get ethical approval?

This is where your academic/research supervisor and their research team are critical in helping you through this. You must discuss this with them well ahead of starting your academic placement.

Who would I talk to about getting a grant for funding?

Grants for your aFY2 year are not necessary as your supervisor should be able to support any research you might wish to undertake.

What research is currently going on at Leicester? What might I be able to get involved in?

Browse our aFY projects to see the research teams happy to support aFY doctors in their academic placement. If you identify a team you wish to work with please contact them directly and see if they are willing to host you for your 4 month placement. If you need an introduction please contact the Director of Clinical Academic Training, Professor Matt Bown.

Who can I talk to about my project?

Please contact the supervisors associated with the aFY projects you are interested in.

How do I plan a project?

You will need to work closely with your supervisor to do this. Contact them early and in advance of your research placement. This is essential for the success of your aFY year.

Presenting at and attending conferences

Is there a budget to help me attend a conference?

The Clinical Academic School is providing a £500 bursary for all aFY to present the work generated as part of their afY years at a national or international conference. See your introductory email for further details.

How do I find a conference that my work would be suitable for?

Your supervisor can advise you on the most appropriate forum for your work.

Is there leave available for attending conferences?

This is covered under your normal study leave process.


Who can I talk to about a career in academic medicine?

This could be your research supervisor or the Director of Clinical Academic Training Professor Matt Bown or Head of the Academic Postgraduate School Professor Jonathan Barratt. All are willing to help.

What does the training path for academic medicine look like?

Learn more about the training path for academic medicine from National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

I want to apply for an Academic Clinical Fellowship but my academic placement is last – what can I do?

Applications for the academic training open in the autumn, before most trainees have had their academic placement, which can be worrying if this is the career path you want. There are a few things that you can do.

If you know that this is what you want to apply for, it is possible to do swaps during FY1. Each set of jobs is completed by three trainees in rotation. Find out who your counterparts are and ask them if they would be willing to swap the order of their jobs. If this does not work, ask the other academic trainees if anyone would mind swapping when they do their academic job (although bear in mind that you will need to swap “like for like” – it would not be possible to swap with a leadership and management if you are a project trainee, for example).

If this does not work, do not despair, just ensure that you have a project proposal planned and written. Keep a copy of it in your interview Portfolio and be prepared to speak about it at your interviews.

If you are not sure about an ACF and want to “try before you apply”, consider using some of your taster days (10 are available across FY1 and FY2) to shadow some Academic Medics.

Where can I find out more about an academic career in the East Midlands?

Visit the HEE website, chat to current ACFs and Clinical Lecturers or contact Professor Matt Bown or Professor Jonathan Barratt.

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