Academic Foundation Training is an initiative designed to introduce talented newly-qualified foundation doctors to academic research and provide opportunities for them to acquire the skills necessary to contribute to medical research programmes. The Academic Foundation Programme in the North of Scotland was designed with the vision of creating highly motivated, clinically outstanding and research minded individuals.  The aim of the Academic Foundation Programme is to prepare the best newly qualified foundation doctors to become future leaders in academic and clinical medicine.  Every opportunity will be made available to enhance the academic profile of successful candidates.

Information about academic foundation programmes in Scotland may be found on the Foundation Programme Office website.

From 2021 (applications in 2020) the North Region will offer twelve 2 year academic foundation posts: 3 x academic surgery, 3 x academic medicine,  and 6 x medical education. From August 2021 all programmes offer a dedicated four month academic block for research/medical education activities.

As well as acquiring clinical competencies expected of all trainees, each academic foundation trainee will have a personal academic mentor who is actively engaged in promoting and undertaking research at University and/or NHS level.

Additional features of the programme include the opportunity to engage in the following research activities depending on an individual's interests:

  • access to University facilities as an honorary associate of the University
  • access to research group meetings/seminars in the relevant fields of interest
  • development of laboratory or clinical research skills
  • attendance at internal and external scientific meetings
  • teaching of medical students and/or involvement in medical education projects e.g. developing skills in a wide range of modes of teaching and assessment delivery and understanding of curriculum management.
  • involvement in medical education development, innovation and or pedagogic research
  • opportunities to write case reports, reviews and publish original research
  • participation in quality improvement (QI) projects, ongoing clinical studies including trials
  • regular academic review meetings with Academic Foundation Programme Director and Director of Aberdeen Clinical Academic Training Programme

The trainees will also be encouraged to formulate plans for medium to long-term research opportunities which may include fellowship applications or MD/PhD studentships. The academic mentor will facilitate academic development at every opportunity and in every rotation within the 2-year programme. 

The programme will be integrated with ongoing efforts to streamline post foundation clinical academic training at the University of Aberdeen. Upon completion of the two-year programme, trainees will have opportunities to apply for an Early Career Academic Programme (ECAP) (formerly Academic Core or Run through Training) in ordfer to maintain momentum in their academic careers.


Postgraduate Master Programmes and PG Certificate Courses

The University of Aberdeen and The North of Scotland Deanery introduced a Postgraduate Master Programme for clinical academic trainees.  These programmes offer either online, face-to-face or a blended approach in teaching and learning and therefore provide flexibility.  The details of taught Master programmes offered by the University of Aberdeen can be found here.


Postgraduate Certificate in Health Research Methods (PgCert Health Research Methods)

This course was among the first such qualifications in the UK designed specifically for AFP doctors and in 2017 an on-line version of the certificate is being launched to allow AFPs more flexibility to study for a postgraduate qualification alongside their clinical training. It provides training in generic research skills with emphasis on translational medicine.

Training includes data handling, statistics and epidemiology, critical appraisal and scientific writing. These are all fundamental research skills required by individuals who wish to pursue a career in academic medicine. The PgCert in Health Research Methods also allows trainees the opportunity to undertake a defined research project under the mentorship of their clinical academic supervisor.


Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Education (PgCert Clinical Education)

The PgCert in Clinical Education is accredited by the Academy of Medical Educators (AoME). This enables those who undertake and successfully complete the programme to apply for full membership of the academy without the need to go through the full application and assessment process.

Membership of the Academy grants the use of the post-nominal letters MAcadMEd, and indicates the individual has been deemed to meet the Academy’s Professional Standards for Medical Educators at an appropriate level

Further information about these unique opportunities including course fees can be found in the online prospectus.

Example Rotation
  • 1-3 Academic Surgery Programmes
  • 4-6 Academic Medicine Programmes
  • 7-9 Academic Medical Education Programmes (1 year each in Inverness and Aberdeen)
  • 10-12 Academic Medical Education Programmes (2 years in Inverness)
  Rotation 1 Rotation 2 Rotation 3

1. SURG FY1

Anaesthesia

Neurology

Trauma & Orthopaedics

    SURG FY2

Academic Block

Vascular

Breast Surgery

2. SURG FY1

Neurology

Trauma & Orthopaedics

Anaesthesia

    SURG FY2

Vascular

Breast Surgery

Academic Block

3. SURG FY1

Trauma & Orthopaedics

Anaesthesia

Neurology

    SURG FY2

Breast Surgery

Academic Block

Vascular

4. MED FY1

Geriatrics

Neurology

Haematology/Oncology

    MED FY2

Academic Block

Gastroenterology

Cardiology

5. MED FY1

Neurology

Haematology/Oncology

Geriatrics

    MED FY2

Gastroenterology

Cardiology

Academic Block

6. MED FY1

Haematology/Oncology

Geriatrics

Neurology

    MED FY2

Gardiology

Academic Block

Gastroenterology

7.  MEDE FY1

GeneralMedicine/
Stroke(INV)

General Surgery (INV)

Respiratory & Infectious Diseases (INV)

    MEDE FY2

Medical Education
Academic Block

Obstetrics

Geriatrics

8. MEDE FY1

Respiratory & Infectious Diseases (INV)

General Medicine/
Stroke (INV)

General Surgery (INV)

    MEDE FY2

Geriatrics

Medical Education
Academic Block

Obstetrics

9. MEDE FY1

General Surgery (INV)

Respiratory & Infectious Diseases (INV)

General Medicine/
Stroke (INV)

    MEDE FY2

Obstetrics

Geriatrics

Medical Education Academic Block

10. MEDE FY1

Renal/General Medicine (INV)

General Surgery (INV)

Respiratory & Infectious Diseases (INV)

     MEDE FY2

GP (Highland)

Medical Education Academic Block (INV)

General Medicine (Fort William)

11. MEDE FY1

Respiratory & infectious diseases (INV)

Renal/General Medicine (INV)

General Surgery (INV)

     MEDE FY2

General Medicine (Fort William)

GP (Highland)

Medical Education Academic Block (INV)

12. MEDE FY1

General Surgery (INV)

Respiratory & infectious diseases (INV)

Renal/General Medicine (INV)

     MEDE FY2

Medical Education Academic Block (INV)

Respiratory and Infectious Diseases (INV)

Renal/General Medicine (INV)

All posts are in Aberdeen unless specified otherwise.  INV = Inverness

Mentors: Each Academic Foundation Programme trainee will have an academic mentor over the 2-year programme. The appropriate mentor will be determined by the successful candidate after discussion with Director of Aberdeen Clinical Academic Training (ACAT), Professor Phyo Myint.

Trainees are welcome to choose to embark on research projects out with the rotations specified. The trainees will be intensively mentored through this programme to ensure that they emerge with a comprehensive training in research methods, publications and the opportunity to present at national and international meetings.

Surgical AFP in the North of Scotland

Academic Surgery is really no different from academic medicine in its remit; that is to engage in research that enhances patient care. Research in surgical specialties may look at cell science, technological advances, patient outcomes post-surgery etc. The trainees will have opportunities to involve in research in the fields of general surgery, breast surgery, trauma and orthopaedics and vascular surgery.

The academic surgery rotation has been designed to ensure maximum exposure to surgical specialties for the trainee, rotating through surgical wards for a total of 12 months in above surgical specialties during the 2 years. During this time, the trainee will have the opportunity to work alongside surgical teams throughout the patient journey in pre-assessment, surgery and on the ward post-surgery. It is hoped that the trainee will also seize opportunities to participate in research in the form of audits, case studies, reviews under the supervision of their academic mentor.

Academic surgery affords the opportunity for budding surgeons to not only start on the path of acquiring the rigorous technical competencies required of a surgeon but to appreciate the contribution of research towards enhancing patient care. Academic surgery is a valued discipline in the UK and abroad served by very active societies and meeting programmes (see the Society of Academic and Research Surgery for details.

Medicine AFP in the North of Scotland

The majority of Foundation Schools in the UK now offer academic medicine posts. With one of the largest clinical campuses in Europe, Aberdeen Medical School has clinical academics in several medicine-related disciplines who are heavily involved in teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level and research at an International level.

The rotations offered to aspiring academic medics are extremely attractive and afford a cohesive selection of specialties suited to doctors with an interest in basic and clinical science. Aberdeen has a wide-ranging research opportunity with several clinical departments with strong academic leaderships; we offer both applied clinical research and basic science research.  

The above rotations will provide the trainee with an unsurpassable exposure to general medical specialties designed to give them an excellent grounding in clinical and research activities relating to acute and chronic medical conditions.

Medical Education AFP in the North of Scotland

Publication of the GMC 'Tomorrow's Doctors' in 1993 and the establishment of new medical programmes across the UK has seen a rapidly expanding role for Medical Education as a legitimate subspecialty interest. It is a vibrant, innovative young field that encompasses work and research alongside sociologists, educationalists and psychologists. Teaching itself is also rewarding - there is great satisfaction to be derived from contributing to the careers and achievements of the next generation of doctors. Postgraduate courses in Medical Education are widely available.

This is a junior version of the Clinical Lecturer (Scholarship) role and will allow the trainee to engage in clinical skills teaching and to acquire an understanding of educational theory and research through regular contact with staff at the Medical School.

In addition to a wide range of regular team CPD opportunities, The University of Aberdeen offers a Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Education (accredited by the Academy of Medical Educators) which can lead to a Diploma and MSc. The Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME), a UK based society has both a Junior and Trainee group with many local members . Each year the Scottish Medical Education Conference attracts more than 500 delegates. At these and other national meetings clinical education research is presented and discussed, providing an ever-increasing evidence base for the practice of Medical Education.

One way of developing educational expertise is to undertake an attachment as a Clinical Lecturer (Scholarship), formerly known as Clinical Teaching Fellows. Such posts are now common in the UK, although they vary in format across medical schools. These posts were introduced in Aberdeen in 2000 and they allow doctors generally at Specialty Registrar level to obtain minimum of one year of "Out of Programme" experience in education, with the opportunity to study for a postgraduate qualification. These posts are not primarily for high volume teaching delivery, but are to give doctors a breadth of experience in all aspects of education.

Research Opportunities for AFPs

Research opportunities are supported through our institutes, details of which can be found on their websites as below.