The Clinical Academic Training Programme (CATP) was developed by the School of Medicine, Dentistry & Biomedical Sciences, in partnership with the Northern Ireland Medical & Dental Training Agency (NIMDTA) and the Belfast Health & Social Care Trust, as a pathway to provide academic clinical training opportunities. This programme was created as part of Modernising Medical Careers/National Co-ordinating Centre for Research Capacity Programme of Integrated Academic Training to address the need to attract and train clinical academics. There is an increasing need to equip medical graduates with the skills required to undertake basic and clinical discovery research and to translate the benefits of such research to improvements in treatment for patients.
Recognising the need for the development of a cohort of appropriately qualified medical graduates, we are offering a research intensive, student oriented Specialised Foundation Programme (SFP) 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 Specialised Foundation Programme (SFP)?
The SFP 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 doctors joining the Specialised Training Programme you will be taking the first steps along the path of integrating research ideas into your clinical practice.
What makes an SFP Different?
A popular feature of the SFP is the opportunity to carry out a research project under the supervision of a senior academic. In the Northern Ireland programme nine SFP 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 Specialised Foundation Programme (SFP) 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.
The combined research elements of the programme will be 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. Thus, the trainee will be immersed in a scientific community that promotes enquiry and innovation, in a research culture that emphasises rigour and encourages excellence. 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 SFP trainee 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 SFP 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 SFP 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 SFs 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: SFP 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.