The academic career path we have developed in Bristol encompasses the elements below, in line with the recommendations from the Walport Report.

Clinical Academic Training Pathway

  • Academic Foundation Programme - two years, 20% protected academic time
  • Clinical Primer Scheme - Elizabeth Blackwell Institute, with six months for research project
  • Academic Clinical Fellowship – NIHR for three years (four years for primary care), 25% protected academic time
  • Doctoral Research Training Fellowship –  Wellcome Trust funded GW4 Clinical Academic Training Programme (for Medical, Dental and Veterinary clinical graduates who want to undertake interdisciplinary PhD training), Medical Research Council (MRC),  NIHR, charities (Out of Programme Research)
  • Academic Clinical Lecturers – NIHR for four years, to complete CCT
  • Intermediate level fellowship or postdoctoral fellowship, transition beyond CCT
  • Senior lectureship (consultant level and end of training pathway)

read the full Walport Report here

The academic training path from medical school to completion of training and beyond

The diagram above is a schematic of the trainee pathway for medical students which is outlined on the following web pages.

You can transition between conventional and academic paths at all levels, enabling flexibility and the possibility to develop a bespoke package of training.

While most of the academic training is carried out under the management of the University of Bristol, the School of Clinical Academic Training (CAT) at Severn PGME provides an academic umbrella for all trainees who are also members of their parent clinical discipline school. The CAT school offers support and advice on academic matters, training in research methods, holds academic and social networking events, offers mentorship and career advice.

We work very closely with the NIHR Trainees Coordinating Centre in Leeds who fund the majority of our Academic Clinical Fellowship (ACF) and Clinical Lectureship (CL) posts. We have excellent relationships with all the major funders in academic medicine – in particular the Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation as well as the Academy of Medical Sciences whose careers events are well-received by our trainees.


The Head of School for Clinical Academic Training at PGME is Professor Debbie Sharp and the School Administrator is Alison Needler both based at the University of Bristol.

Our trainees

We currently host approximately 60 trainees in Academic Clinical Fellowship and Clinical Lecturer programmes.

Other career options

The Academic Foundation Programme is not the only way to begin a career in academic medicine.

Some trainees are not ready to participate in research until later stages of their training and may apply for a Clinical Primer or an Academic Clinical Fellowship before undertaking a research training fellowship to complete a doctorate.

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