New grants to help medical students gain valuable experience of clinical research

New grants to help medical students gain valuable experience of clinical research

Medical students at the University of Aberdeen are to benefit from a £10,000 grant to help them undertake unique clinical placements called 'electives'.

Medical students spend eight weeks working on a clinical research project in their final year as part of the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) degree.

Each elective placement is self-directed based on a student’s own interests and can take place anywhere in the world.

In recent years medical students have travelled to developing counties to assist in malaria prevention, antenatal care, and other public health projects, while others have developed training programmes, or carried out audits assessing health services against best practice.

Placements have also been undertaken in laboratories developing new cancer drugs and with leading transplant surgeons, as just some examples.

The charity The Hospital Saturday Fund, which supports medical projects, care, research or support of medical training, has awarded a grant of £10,000 to the University of Aberdeen to help fund students undertaking these elective placements. It will be spread over three years with students being considered for an individual bursary of £500.

Professor Anthony Ormerod, electives convenor at the University of Aberdeen, said: “We are very grateful to the Hospital Saturday Fund for this donation.

“Undertaking this elective is an important part of a medical degree and allows students to develop their independence as future practitioners and get a feel for clinical research, which is essential for developing new drugs, treatments and therapies.

“Many students wish to travel to assist in countries where medical interventions are not as developed and this pioneering spirit is commendable.

“These grants, of £500 each, will enable us to help students meet the costs associated with their placements and help to ensure that they undertake their placements based on what will help them to develop as students and future doctors, and not on affordability.”

These grants will be awarded by the electives convenor based on the students’ project proposals and interviews in fourth year.

Professor Ormerod was presented with the grant award at a ceremony in Glasgow by soprano and TV personality Lesley Garrett, CBE, who is patron of the Hospital Saturday Fund.