Academic Training in ICM

Published 20/01/2023

Academic Clinical Lectureships/Clinical Lectureships (ACL/CL)

Individuals who complete a higher research degree may re-enter conventional clinical training, but those with core academic aspirations should have access to Clinical Lecturer appointments, which will allows them to establish themselves as independent researchers and leaders. Regardless of whether or not individuals are appointed to Clinical Lecturer posts, those who demonstrate the ability and aspiration to continue research training should be given every possible opportunity to continue their clinical training within the institution that supports their research, so as to facilitate completion of ongoing research and subsequent grant applications.

Clinical Lecturer (CL) post (usually based in a University department) typically provides 50% of protected research time. They may be funded by NIHR or locally by a University department. The protected research time allows continued contact with research and key collaborators, development of post-doctoral research plans, subsequent grant applications, and preparation and submission of an Advanced Fellowship or Clinician Scientist grant, which represent the next staging posts in academic training.

CLs are aimed at those who are advanced in their specialty training, have completed a research doctorate, or equivalent, and show outstanding potential for continuing a career in academic medicine. The duration of a CL is for a maximum of 4 years, and it is expected that CLs will complete their specialty training during this period.  As with ACFs, CLs should be strongly encouraged to apply for smaller grants in addition to (or as a prelude to) an Advanced Fellowship or Clinician Scientist grant. Some funding bodies (e.g. the Wellcome Trust and Academy of Medical Sciences) have specific “starter” grants schemes that only CLs can apply for.

Academic doctors in training on completing a PhD and re-entering clinical training may wish to apply for or undertake a clinical lectureship in the centre in which their PhD was based, to ensure ongoing mentorship and support. Where a doctor in training has moved geographically for their doctoral fellowship, there may need to be flexibility in moving their ICM and/or other dual training number to support their career. This may present challenges at regional level for training schemes, and is likely to require careful planning between regional trainers and FICM..

As with ACF posts, there are no formally funded ACL posts in Scotland. However, many Scottish Universities have the ability to award Clinical Lectureships, but (at least in some Universities) these may be linked to individuals, rather than represent established senior academic training posts. Clinical training schemes will need to have sufficient flexibility to ensure that academic trainees are not disadvantaged or discouraged from taking up CL posts, and that Universities have the capacity to support the brightest academic trainees.

Doctors in training who complete their PhD, but do not obtain a CL post, can return to their training schemes for completion of their clinical training. However, this means that they may have very limited interaction with their research and collaborators. Further, the constraints of conventional training schemes provide no protected time to prepare an Advanced Fellowship or Clinician Scientist application. However, in some instances, this may the only option available. In such cases training schemes should facilitate, as best as possible (through study and professional leave allocation), continued contact with research and try to provide time for grant preparation, so as to make it easier to pick up the threads of research activity at an appropriate time.