Academic Foundation Training at Queen's University Belfast
Queens University Belfast (QUB) has an international reputation in academic medicine and the strategic vision of the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences is to develop and promote a world-class, research-led medical community. Following graduation from medical school the first step on the Clinical Academic Training pathway is the Academic Foundation Programme, which is recruited to by the Northern Ireland Foundation School (NIFS) based at NIMDTA. Further information on the recruitment process is available on the NIMDTA webpages.
Recognising the need for the development of a cohort of appropriately qualified medical graduates, we are offering a research intensive, student oriented Academic Foundation Year 2 Programme, with the option of completing a Certificate in Academic Medicine, that will provide high quality candidates with the research skills required to further develop their careers. These skills are of benefit regardless of the chosen career.
Why choose the Academic Foundation programme?
The AF2 placement offers dedicated research and education time as a four month block and will enable the holder to gain insights into clinical academic medicine at an early stage through regular interactions with academic clinical supervisors, scientific staff and postgraduate research students.
This placement is designed to develop knowledge, skills and aptitudes for academic medicine and to foster interest in a long-term clinical academic career. As Academic Foundation doctors you will be taking the first steps along the path of integrating research ideas into your clinical practice.
What makes an AF2 Different?
A popular feature of the AF2 is the opportunity to carry out a research project under the supervision of a senior academic. In the Northern Ireland programme nine AF2 posts are offered and they incorporate a four month attachment to an academic unit where the clinician will gain experience of working on a research project (which may include a medical education project) and begin to develop the practical and analytical skills necessary to carry out research. The Academic F2 (AF2) placement will also enable the holder to gain insights into clinical academic medicine at an early stage through regular interactions with academic clinical supervisors, scientific staff and postgraduate research students.
This project will form part of an existing programme delivered within one of the School of Medicine, Dentistry & Biomedical Sciences research or education centres: The Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research, the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine, the Centre for Public Health (CPH) Centre for Medical Education (CME) and the Centre for Biomedical Sciences. This placement is designed to develop knowledge, skills and aptitudes for academic medicine and to foster interest in a long-term clinical academic career. The AF2 will be expected to structure their time in a highly effective manner and complete substantial portions of the programme independently. These programmes offer the chance to learn skills which will translate into a successful medical career across a variety of disciplines.
Is an AF2 right for you?
Do you have, and can you demonstrate to a panel of interviewers that you possess the following qualities:
- Evidence of interest in an academic career: you must be able to demonstrate that you understand what the career involves and you should be able to show your interest in this through some of the work you have completed in medical school; the AF2 application process is competitive and successful candidates often have something on their CV that stands out (e.g. distinctions, prizes, presentations, scientific publications, etc.) Although many AF2s are generic and the speciality itself is not the main focus of the programme, it is advantageous if you can show a genuine interest in the academic focus of the programme.
- Good Clinical abilities: AF2 trainees are expected to gain all of the F2 outcomes in reduced time. You therefore need to demonstrate that you have a strong clinical base and that you are committed to actively managing your learning from the moment you start the programme.
- Passion: Most importantly of all, you can convey your passion for the programme and do possess a genuine desire to take full advantage of the great opportunity to benefit the patients that we are all here to serve.