Academic Clinical Fellows (ACFs) - FAQs
About Academic Clinical Fellowship (ACF) posts
- What is an academic clinical fellowship (ACF)? It is a post designed to support doctors in the early stages of their specialty training to combine clinical and academic work. There is 25% protected research time.
- When and where are ACFs advertised? Oxford ACF posts are advertised each autumn, usually on the BMJ website and the Oxford Deanery pages. They are also listed on the NIHR Academy pages.
- If I have a DPhil/PhD, am I eligible for an ACF? Usually, the end goal of the ACF is for the doctor to apply to an external funding body for a research training fellowship leading to a doctorate. However, if you already have a doctorate, you may also apply for ACF posts.
- Are ACFs run-through training posts? Yes, they are run-through training posts in the specialty in which they are advertised. For instance, an ACF in neurology that recruits into ST1 core medical training will run through into neurology ST3 training in the third year of the post, subject to a satisfactory ARCP (Academic Annual Review of Competence Progression).
- Can I take maternity/paternity leave during my ACF? Yes. Maternity/paternity leave is governed by the terms and conditions of service associated with your contract with the NHS.
- Can I work part-time as an ACF? You may be able to work part-time, but this needs to be agreed locally before the part-time working starts.
About THE POSTGRADUATE CERT/DIP IN HEALTH RESEARCH
Cert/Dip - Overview
- What is the Postgraduate Certificate in Health Research? It is a qualification offered by the University of Oxford which Oxford ACFs are eligible to study for. They may chose to complete either the certificate or, by taking extra modules, the diploma.
- How long do I have to complete the programme? ACFs have between 1 and 3 years to complete the programme. This applies to all trainees – including GPs. Because GPs are on a four-year programme, those wishing to complete the programme over 3 years may elect to start in their second year in post, perhaps when they may have identified modules of particular relevance to their research.
- When do I need to apply? Once you become an ACF with OUCAGS you will become eligible to apply for this programme. We will contact you about it.
- Do I need to pay? No. At Oxford the programme is funded by the NIHR with a top-up from OUCAGS.
- Is funding available to convert from the Certificate into a Master’s degree? No. Unfortunately the Master’s upgrade is expensive and OUCAGS' funding will not stretch that far.
Cert - Spread over the length of the ACF
How should I spread out the modules over the 3 years?
This is often dictated by your workload, particularly the timing of your clinical rotations and college exams. You will need to book study leave to do the modules and you will have to decide how it will fit with your other commitments.
You should do the two compulsory modules first. You could book onto one and see how it goes – to help decide whether you can manage a second, even a third, module the same year. However, for those in their first year of core surgical training, we would recommend 2 modules as a maximum.
Modules can get booked up quickly. So, it is best to get a place and then cancel later than leave it until the last minute. As long as you cancel modules well in advance there will not be a problem with re-allocating payment to a module later.