School of Medicine
Clinical Academic Fellow standing in front of their research poster ready to present it

Academic Clinical Fellowships

Clinical specialty training posts in medicine which incorporate clinical and academic training, allowing ambitious trainees to develop research areas suitable for a higher research degree (like a PhD or DM by Research).

The posts provide funded time and supervision for fellows to work on projects that will enable them to apply for external funding to undertake doctoral fellowships with supervision from one of our leading research groups. 

The University of Nottingham’s ACF programme posts are funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and are part of the NIHR Integrated Academic Training Programme. We work with Health Education England in the East Midlands which governs clinical training and progression.  

Apply for an Academic Clinical Fellowship

The programme

The Nottingham ACF posts are designed to integrate your academic training into your clinical training such that progression in clinical training is continued, with time and support to work on an ambitious research project.

The ACF programme is typically spread over a 3 years (full time equivalent (FTE)) in which you will spend:

  • 75% of your time in specialist clinical training
  • 25% of your time in research or educationalist training

Academic training

Academic training is integrated with clinical training. We will ensure that you will be able to use the 25% protected academic time (typically 9 months FTE in a 3-year rotation) entirely dedicated to academic work, development and training. The allocated academic time will be free from all clinical and NHS service commitments including out of hours on-calls.

The 25% FTE academic time in the ACF post can be taken in blocks (for example a 6-month block in one year and a 3-month block in another) or can be integrated into your usual working week. These arrangements are flexible – you can decide them in consultation with your academic supervisor and the clinical training programme director as suitable to your training needs.

Academic Training Programme Director

At the beginning of your ACF post, you will have an opportunity to meet with the Academic Training Programme Director of your medical speciality. They will help you explore research opportunities and identify an academic supervisor. The academic supervisor will help you develop your research idea, guide you through academic training, and provide support to develop your doctoral fellowship application. The Academic Training Programme Director will also help you integrate your clinical and academic training in partnership with your speciality’s Clinical Training Programme Director.

Please contact us at  and we will put you in touch with the programme directors in your speciality of interest.

Research and training

During the fellowship, you will complete original research in an area of your interest. We encourage our fellows to explore their own interests and will offer whatever support we can to help them succeed with their research.

In addition to the regular, experiential training provided by your academic supervisor and their research team, you will have opportunity to access specific training in research methods such as study design, data collection, research governance, statistics, presentation and academic writing.

Additional training

Nottingham ACFs have free access to courses on the Nottingham School of Medicine Doctoral Training Programme throughout their fellowship and can choose to put these towards a Master’s degree. In addition, courses covering academic competencies such as systematic review skills, clinical trials design and development, advanced statistical skills, education, and public health are available within the School of Medicine. ACFs can also access external courses as required for their training.


You’ll also receive support from members of the senior academic staff when preparing applications for PhD fellowship funding.

You will be provided with excellent and motivating supervision throughout your ACF. Your academic supervisor will meet you regularly and meetings with the Academic Training Programme Director will be held at least one a year. You will have regular ad hoc meetings as most of our academic teams provide a friendly and supportive environment where discussions and questions are welcomed.

Within the academic community in the School of Medicine, we also offer additional support via peer-to-peer mentorships and senior academic mentors who will be a senior clinical academic who will provide support for all aspects throughout your fellowship


A generous annual bursary of £1000 is also available for conference attendance and expenses.

Clinical Training

As part of the programme, you will complete clinical training in the north of the Health Education England – Midlands and East area, typically centred in Nottingham. You will rotate through a number of placements which gives excellent all-round training with opportunities in many sub-specialities.

The placements are organised and run by Health Education England in the East Midlands. A clinical supervisor and an educational supervisor (both Consultants in your chosen specialities) will provide guidance and support in attaining clinical competencies and developing your personal e-portfolio.

Find out more about Health Education England in the Midlands

Find out more about the NIHR guidance for completing an ACF post

Don't take our word for it

Hear what some of our trainees have to say in the video(s) below:

How to apply

Posts are advertised nationally on the website for doctors in training in October and November each year. The posts begin in August the following year. For example, posts for 2022 were advertised in 2021.

If you are appointed as an NIHR-funded Academic Clinical Fellow, you are entitled to £1000 each year to attend approved academic conferences and training courses. 

Apply online for an Academic Clinical Fellowship


NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship Specialities 2024

  • Clinical Radiology
  • Renal Medicine
  • Gastroenterology
  • Respiratory Medicine
  • Paediatrics
  • Dermatology
  • Endocrinology and Diabetes Mellitus
  • Haematology
  • Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgery
  • General Psychiatry
  • Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Forensic Psychiatry
  • General Practice
  • Anaesthetics
  • General Surgery
  • Old Age Psychiatry
  • Geriatric Medicine
  • Neurology

School of Medicine

University of Nottingham
Medical School
Nottingham, NG7 2UH

Contacts: Call 0115 748 4098 ext.30031 or please see our 'contact us' page for further details