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ACF in Paediatric Surgery

Dr Oliver McCallion

Pathway to an ACF position

I completed graduate-entry medical training at the University of Nottingham, including a brief secondment to the University of Oslo, before taking up an Academic Foundation Programme in Oxford.  The Academic Clinical Fellowship in paediatric surgery was a really exciting opportunity for me to continue developing as both a clinician and an academic within a training programme, and to ultimately submit applications for external DPhil funding. I have always been interested in clinical research both as an outlet for scientific curiosity and as a vehicle to improve the clinical care available to patients. 

What does the work involve?

My experience as an Oxford ACF has been overwhelmingly positive – OUCAGS, my academic mentors, and the clinical teams have all been very supportive and accommodating. I was in a privileged position segueing from an Oxford Academic Foundation programme into an Oxford Academic Clinical Fellowship, so was already established within a laboratory with a clear project. With this in mind, I opted to take my academic time whilst working a clinical rota instead of as a discrete block. In addition, I was also able to complete the Postgraduate Diploma in Health Research and skills training through the Medical Sciences Division.

WHY OXFORD?

Clinical academic training in Oxford is very well established and offers the unique opportunity to access the world-renowned academic community, infrastructure, and facilities of the University whilst simultaneously developing clinical experience. There is an excellent network of established clinical academics, who have often been through similar training pathways, and who have helped me to shape my research question and guided my personal development. 

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE PROS AND CONS OF BEING AN ACF?

The pros have undoubtedly been the protected research time, training, and support in formulating proposals to submit to external funders. It sounds hackneyed but I think the main con is that there is so much going on in Oxford that you do have to be quite selective in apportioning your time. 

WHAT’S NEXT?

My ACF has been instrumental in providing the time to generate data and compile applications to external research funders. As a direct result I am now undertaking a DPhil which is generously supported by both a Medical Research Council (MRC) Clinical Research Training Fellowship and a Royal College of Surgeons of England Research Fellowship. Details of my research project are available on my departmental page.

August 2020