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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Academic Clinical Fellowships

PLEASE NOTE that recruitment to ACF is not part of the national recruitment process managed by the College.


Academic Clinical Fellowships (ACFs) are prestigious and highly competitive clinical academic training posts. They offer trainees the opportunity to progress in clinical specialty training while developing research skills and working alongside world-renowned academics to conduct, present and publish research.


ACF posts are 3-year fixed-term contracts which attract a National Training Number (NTN(A)) and guarantee protected research time for the duration of the post. They may be offered at any level up to ST3 (ST4 entry is permitted in paediatric medicine and psychiatry). Trainees will join the specialty or core training programme appropriate for their level of entry and will undertake 75% clinical training, and 25% academic research in their chosen specialty. ACFs hold a training contract with the relevant Deanery, an employment contract with the NHS Trust at which they are working clinically, and an honorary contract (without remuneration) with the university at which they complete their research.


Clinically, they are supervised by their local Clinical and Educational Supervisors, responsible to the Training Programme Director (TPD) and the regional Head of School. Their research is supervised by their Academic Supervisor, who reports to the Specialty Academic Lead (the senior academic responsible for the university programme). The Academic Training Programme Director has overall responsibility for the Academic programme and reports to the Deputy Postgraduate Dean with responsibility for Academic training. This comprehensive support network acts to ensure that Academic Clinical Fellows progress both clinically and academically throughout their demanding role.


ACF trainees also undertake a research training programme provided by the university for which funding is provided by NIHR, which can lead to a postgraduate qualification such as a MSc or a PGDip. They also are eligible for a £1,000 bursary per year to attend or present at academic conferences.


All Academic Clinical Fellowship posts are run-through training posts, regardless of specialty. A trainee entering ACF at ST/CT1 in a specialty with a core training period would therefore be guaranteed continued training to CCT in the eventual specialty, as long as they progress satisfactorily through their training. This applies whether a trainee wishes to continue with combined clinical academic training or not.  However, they are committed to the original GMC-approved specialty. If a trainee wished to change their original specialty he or she would have to apply in open competition in the same way as any other trainee. Further information regarding ACF run-through is available on the National Institute for Health Research website. 


If you have any questions about ACF posts or the recruitment process, please contact an Academic Coordinator at your chosen deanery.


Last updated: 20 July 2012/JC

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