Clinical Academic Training & Careers Hub (CATCH)
New website launched to promote value of clinical academic careers The Clinical Academic Training Forum (CATF) has launched a new website to promote the role of clinical academics and support health professionals beginning their clinical academic jo
The Clinical Academic Training Forum (CATF) has launched a new website to promote the role of clinical academics and support health professionals beginning their clinical academic journey. CATCH, the Clinical Academic Training & Careers Hub, aims to be a one stop shop for information on academic careers.
Clinical academics are qualified healthcare professionals who also work in academia, typically in research, teaching, or both. They balance their time between treating patients, conducting research and training the next generation of clinicians. As their role is often split between working in universities and the NHS, clinical academics are able to align cutting edge research with real-time patient care. This results in an NHS that delivers evidence-based healthcare and aspires to the highest standards of excellence, a key principle of the heath service.
Clinical academics are also essential to the UK’s science and research performance, an area in which the UK currently excels, with 54% of its output considered world leading. The impact of this can be seen in the UK’s scientific response to the coronavirus pandemic. From the development of vaccines to new therapeutics and technologies, the UK is leading the global recovery effort. Clinical academics form an important part of the research workforce and if the UK is to maintain its position as a scientific global leader then, as highlighted in the Government’s R&D Roadmap, it must “attract, retain and develop the talented, diverse people and teams who are essential to delivering our vision.”
However, despite their fundamental role and importance the number of clinical academics is falling. Recruitment into clinical academia has not matched the rate of academics retiring, leading to a ‘leaking’ pipeline of an essential workforce. It is therefore vital that the sector works together to promote the unique opportunities available through clinical academia and to inspire talented individuals to embark on an academic career.
CATCH is an initiative that hopes to help address this issue. A scoping exercise led by CATF concluded that there was no resource available that contained all relevant information for clinical academic trainees in a single site and that there was a paucity of information for trainees from other clinical backgrounds such as dentistry and nursing. It is hoped that the launch of CATCH can begin to remedy this and help early career researchers and any health professional interested in academia navigate what is often perceived as a complicated career path.
The development of CATCH has been led by Professor Jane Norman, Dean for the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Bristol and Chair of the Medical Schools Council Research Committee. Of its launch, Professor Norman said
“We are really excited to be able to launch CATCH, our new online clinical academic careers resource. This is the result of an extensive consultation with clinical researchers and educators across the UK. Our hope is that it will showcase the vast array of career options in clinical academia, across many professional disciplines, and the unique set of challenges and rewards they bring.