Dr Robert Legg
Academic Foundation Programme (2016)
Pathway to an AFP position
Throughout my university years, I had often thought about a career as a clinical academic, and as such sought out opportunities to experience work as one.
As much as various projects during my training had given me some experience, the AFP seemed the best way to gain experience and know-how at such an early stage in my career, and help me establish what my future pathway would be.
What does the work involve?
The structure of my AFP consisted of a 4-month academic rotation during my FY2 year, with no clinical commitments. Prior to this, I had been in contact with a group doing research on genetics in type 2 diabetes and related traits.
As a result of this prior planning I was able to immerse myself fully in the team at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics (WTCHG), gaining experience and ability in bioinformatics both in the context of diabetes and for my broader learning. This was supplemented with group meetings and seminars, journal clubs, and by attending the courses OUCAGS organises (such as the ‘Introduction to Medical Research’ series).
At the end of my four months I had acquired a new skill set that I could take forward in future projects and presented my results to the group, with a view to incorporating them into upcoming presentations and publications the group had in progress.
As well as the aesthetics of Oxford, the combined set-up between the University and the hospitals provided a great environment in which to foster my clinical and academic ambitions.
Also, I was a trainee who applied for an AFP at the end of F1 year, once I had gained a better idea of my clinical training needs and clinical/academic interests. So it is fortunate that Oxford allows trainees to enter the AFP at such a stage.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time as an AFP, both during my research block and also the year as a whole (with the other events on offer). The experience and skills I have gained will hopefully serve me well in future projects.
As for the immediate future, I have accepted an RMO position in Cairns, Australia, where I will get some additional experience in different specialties and in a different healthcare setting, and continue my academic experience with local research groups. Thereafter I plan to return to the UK, applying for ACF and similar posts.