Academic Clinical Fellow (ACF)

female student with back to camera talking to male student

Academic Clinical Fellow (ACF)

Develop specialty clinical skills

The academic training programme is aimed at helping the ACF prepare a competitive application for a training fellowship to undertake a higher degree.

What is an Academic Clinical Fellowship?

Academic Clinical Fellowships are targeted at doctors and dentists in the early years of specialty training.

This two year funded ACF programme attracts an NTN(a) and allows the ACF to develop academic skills at the same time as specialty clinical skills. During this period the ACF will complete training with 25% of their time to undertake research at QUB in the specialty to which they are appointed. This academic training environment is aimed at helping the ACF prepare a competitive application for a training fellowship to undertake a higher degree.

An Academic Foundation post is not a prerequisite for selection to an ACF. However, it may be helpful as part of the evidence provided to show a commitment to an academic career. After successful application, you will be given the opportunity to acquire training skills in both generic academic skills (generic applied research skills; research governance; communication/education) and specific academic goals. ACFs are normally mentored by two supervisors (academic and clinical) to whom they are responsible. Progress will be reviewed twice per year.

Support and mentoring will be provided through the Clinical Academic Training Programme.

Failure to gain one of the very limited number of ACF posts does not mean the end of academic aspirations. There are other options for the committed academic, including university posts funded by grants or pharmaceutical companies, both of which can lead to a higher degree.

The next step would be to obtain a Clinical Research Fellowship to continue research.


How do I complete the application process?

Queen's University is offering an Integrated Clinical Academic Training Programme for doctors and dentists in research and education.

Recruitment is now open and applications are sought for ACF positions within any discipline, including Dentistry, from highly motivated, enthusiastic individuals.

This programme allows the ACF to develop academic skills (25% research at QUB) at the same time as speciality clinical skills.  The trainee will prepare an application for an externally funded clinical research training fellowship to undertake research leading to a PhD/MD.

The normal duration of an ACF post is 2 years.

Applicants should state their speciality preference clearly on the application form.


If candidates have any queries please email:


Application forms should be returned to:

Ms Clare Campbell
Beechill House
42 Beechill Road

Closing Date: 10am, Monday 5 March 2018  (Please note this deadline has been extended from 28 February 2018)


What are the mentorship arrangements? 

Postgraduate clinical students will have mentorship provided from several sources including;

  1. Their university-based supervisory team (clinical academic as primary supervisor and second supervisor who may be a scientist or clinician),
  2. Prof Peter Maxwell, in his role as Director of Clinical Academic Training Programme (CATP), and the constituent members of staff on the CATP Board (includes representatives from trainees, NIMDTA and Belfast HSC Trust).
  3. The postgraduate deanery appointed Training Programme Director who will oversee specialty training in the trainee’s clinical discipline
  4. Mentorship provided in a more holistic fashion addressing issues such as work-life balance, gender equality, career guidance within academia. This is a successful initiative locally led by Prof Jayne Woodside (School of Medicine)

We encourage clinical students to explore all of these options for personal mentorship and then develop a working relationship with the mentor(s) that best suits the trainee’s personality and circumstances i.e. it is a collegial working link rather than an “enforced” mentorship arrangement.


"The ACF programme provides a great opportunity to combine research experience in an internationally recognised centre, with clinical training in O&G. This experience has provided the foundation for a PhD fellowship and ultimately, a career as a clinical academic in the field of Urogynaecology"
Dr Patrick Campbell
Registrar in Obstetrics & Gynaecology