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 AFP was designed with the vision of creating highly motivated, clinically outstanding and research minded individuals.

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

The North Deanery offer fifteen 2 year academic foundation posts: 3 x academic surgery, 3 x academic medicine, 3 x critical care and 6 x medical education.

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:

  • regular seminars on research skills
  • development of laboratory or clinical research skills
  • attendance at internal and external scientific meetings
  • teaching of senior medical students
  • opportunities to write case reports, reviews and publish original research
  • participation in X-ray meetings, journal clubs, grand rounds
  • participation in audit projects, ongoing clinical trials
  • regular meetings with University and/or NHS academics and other academic foundation trainees

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.

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. All trainees will also have access to guidance and supervision of many academic clinicians participating in this 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 Academic Core Training inorder to maintain momentum in their academic careers.


Other Distance Learning Options

A number of courses are also available UK-wide but would need to be self-funded and completed in the trainee's spare time. Examples of courses available include: 

Example Rotation
  • N9 (1-3) Academic Surgery Programmes
  • N9 (4-6) Academic Medicine Programmes
  • N9 (7-9) Academic Critical Care Programmes
  • N9 (10-12) Academic Medical Education Programmes (1 year in Inverness and 1 year in Aberdeen)
  • N9 (13-15) Academic Medical Education Programmes (2 years in Inverness)
  Rotation 1 Rotation 2 Rotation 3

1. SURG FY1

General Surgery

Acute Medicine

Trauma & Orthopaedics

    SURG FY2

Vascular Surgery

Accident and Emergency

Breast Surgery

2. SURG FY1

Trauma & Orthopaedics

General Surgery

Acute Medicine

    SURG FY2

Breast Surgery

Vascular Surgery

Accident and Emergency

3. SURG FY1

Acute Medicine

Trauma & Orthopaedics

General Surgery

    SURG FY2

Accident and Emergency

Breast Surgery

Vascular Surgery

4. MED FY1

General Surgery

General Medicine

Respiratory

    MED FY2

Medical Paediatrics

Gastroenterology

Cardiology

5. MED FY1

Respiratory

General Surgery

Acute Medicine

    MED FY2

Cardiology

Medical Paediatrics

Gastroenterology

6. MED FY1

General Medicine

Respiratory

General Surgery

    MED FY2

Gastroenterology

Cardiology

Medical Paediatrics

7. CRITC FY1

General Medicine

General Surgery (Vascular)

Anaesthetics

    CRITC FY2

Neurosurgery

Renal Medicine

Rural Medicine (Fort William)

8. CRITC FY1

Anaesthetics

General Medicine

General Surgery (Vascular)

    CRITC FY2

Rural Medicine (Fort William)

Nuerosurgery

Renal Medicine

9. CRITC FY1

General Surgery (Vascular)

Anaesthetics

General Medicine - Ward 110

    CRITC FY2

Renal Medicine

Rural Medicine (Fort William)

Neurosurgery

10. MEDE FY1

General Medicine/Stroke (INV)

General Surgery (INV)

Respiratory & Infectious Diseases (INV)

     MEDE FY2

Medical Education Clinical Fellowship

Obstetrics

GP (Grampian)

11. MEDE FY1

Respiratory & infectious diseases (INV)

General Medicine/Stroke (INV)

General Surgery (INV)

     MEDE FY2

GP (Grampian)

Medical Education Clinical Fellowship

Obstetrics

12. MEDE FY1

General Surgery (INV)

Respiratory & infectious diseases (INV)

General Medicine/Stroke (INV)

     MEDE FY2

Obstetrics

GP (Grampian)

Medical Education Clinical Fellowship

13. MEDE FY1

Renal / General Medicine (INV)

General Surgery (INV)

Respiratory and Infectious Diseases (INV)

     MEDE FY2

GP (Highland)

Medical Education Clinical Fellowship (INV)

General Medicine (Fort William)

14. MEDE FY1

Respiratory and Infectious Diseases (INV)

Renal / General Medicine (INV)

General Surgery (INV)

     MEDE FY2

General Medicine (Fort William)

GP (Highland)

Medical Education Clinical Fellowship (INV)

15. MEDE FY1

General Surgery (INV)

Respiratory and Infectious Diseases (INV)

Renal / General Medicine (INV)

     MEDE FY2

Medical Education Clinical Fellowship (INV)

General Medicine (Fort William)

GP (Highland)

Mentors: Each academic FY trainee will have TWO academic mentors over the 2 year programme. The choice of the two mentors will be determined by the successful candidate after discussion with Professor El-Omar. The most appropriate mentor for each academic FY will be selected.

Posts are in Aberdeen unless specified otherwise. INV = Inverness.

Surgery

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. Particular strengths in Aberdeen lie in the areas of bone/orthopaedics research, GI, endocrine, vascular and breast 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 16 months 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 mentorship of the six academic surgery mentors.

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

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 an enviable number of academics in 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 young doctors with an interest in basic and clinical science. Aberdeen has a strong research focus in gastroenterology with active programmes in inflammatory bowel disease, colorectal cancer and stomach cancer all of which have a very high incidence in the North East of Scotland. They work in close contact with the oncology research group and pathology department to examine the epidemiology, pathology and molecular biology of common cancers and those that are increasing in incidence such as oesophageal cancer.

There is extensive research expertise in Haematology spanning haemostasis and coagulation disorders, haematological malignancies, transfusion medicine and EBV related diseases.

Aberdeen also has an established reputation for respiratory research particularly asthma. There are active research programmes investigating fetal, early life and environmental influences on the aetiology, prevention and treatment of asthma. Research is also being conducted in the fields of COPD, lung cancer, cystic fibrosis and interstitial lung disease.The Cardiology Department offers tremendous opportunities for research in several avenues including heart failure, cardiovascular pathophysiology and cardiac imaging.

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.

Trainees are welcome to choose to embark on research projects outwith 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.

Critical Care

Academic Critical Care brings together a number of disciplines across the hospital into an attractive package that will appeal to applicants who wish to train in specialties associated with the care of acutely unwell patients. The combination of renal medicine and neurosurgery alongside an anaesthetic/ICU attachment provides a fantastic opportunity for the trainee to acquire the skills to recognise and manage acutely ill patients who need lifesaving treatment. The icing on the cake is in the 4-month attachment at Fort William, where the FY2 doctors have unrivalled exposure to acute medical and surgical emergencies.

Aberdeen has a dedicated ICU that receives patients from an extensive geographical area stretching from the Shetland and Orkney Isles to the Western Isles. The academic lead for Anaesthesia and Intensive Care is Professor Nigel Webster and his team divide their time between the ICU and the Institute of Medical Sciences. Trainees also have excellent opportunities for research under the mentorship of Mr Pragnesh Bhatt in Neurosurgery and Professor Lars Erwig in Renal Medicine.

Scotland has a dedicated intensive care evidence based medicine group and the Scottish intensive care society; the trainee will hopefully have the opportunity to present at their meetings. In addition, the opportunity to spend four months working in the world-class outdoor adventure destination Fort William will feed the appetite of the hardiest, adrenalin junkies.

Medical Education

Publication of the GMC 'Tomorrow's Doctors' in 1993 and the establishment of new medical schools in England 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. The University of Aberdeen offers a PG Certificate in Medical Education which can lead to a Diploma or MSc. The Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME www.asme.org.uk), a UK based society and The Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) hold popular annual meetings at which Medical Education research is presented, 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 (Scholarhip), formerly known as Clinical Teaching Fellows. Such posts are now common, although they vary in format across medical schools. These posts were introduced in Aberdeen in 2000 and they allow doctors at Specialty Registrar level to obtain up to two years 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.

The Academic Medical Education rotation is unique among the Aberdeen Foundation Programme rotations in that it provides a 4-month Clinical Lecturer (Scholarship) during FY2. 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.