Tomorrow's medical researchers to be nurtured in Manchester

The School of Medicine at The University of Manchester has been 'outstandingly successful' in its bid to host new Department of Health Academic Clinical Fellowships (ACFs), as part of a flagship scheme to train the medical researchers of the future.

A report for the DH asserted last October that the country's future health and wellbeing depended on investing in young medical and dental professionals; providing flexible training programmes to allow them to combine a clinical career with research. Universities and NHS trusts across England and Wales then submitted applications to run a total of 224 research programmes over 5 years to support ACFs, with the Clinical Academic Careers Panel - made up of eminent medical and dental academics - meeting in February to consider their proposals.

It has now granted funding for 104 programmes, 11 of them at The University of Manchester. According to the Department of Health the quality of academic and clinical training available was the key criterion for the panel's recommendations.

Professor Phil Baker, Associate Head of the School of Medicine and its Director of Research, said: "I am pleased that the University has been so outstandingly successful in its bids for the new Academic Clinical Fellowships, which we feel will substantially enhance the academic career opportunities for doctors in training. I am grateful to everyone who put so much hard work into preparing for the bids, particularly Professor David Thompson whose painstaking efforts and strategic leadership have resulted in this remarkable success."

Part of a co-ordinated approach by the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC), the Fellowships will allow trainee medics wishing to combine clinical and research work to undertake academic training which will enable them to apply for a research training fellowship, at the same time as launching their specialist clinical training.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has committed up to 50 million over 10 years to deliver what will then form the next part of the clinical academic training pathway; 'new blood' senior lectureship posts allocated through annual competitions. The long-term aim of the scheme is to increase the research capacity of the NHS, by developing an expert workforce to support all aspects of clinical research.

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Programmes will be funded at the University of Manchester in Cardiovascular Medicine, Clinical Genetics, Medical Education, Dermatology, Gastroenterology, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Occupational Medicine, Ophthalmology, Psychiatry, General Practice and Rheumatology. Fellowships within each programme will be advertised nationally in the British Medical Journal and The Lancet.

Notes for Editors
The 'UK Clinical Research Collaboration' and 'Modernising Medical Careers' Academic Training Programmes were announced by the Department for Health on 6 October 2005, following the publication of "Medically and dentally qualified staff: Recommendations for training the researchers and educators of the future" by an Academic Careers Sub-Committee of Modernising Medical Careers and the UKCRC, chaired by Dr Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust.

Up to 250 Academic Clinical Fellowship training opportunities will be created per year, as part of the Specialist Training stage of an academic medical career. Once up and running, the training programmes will support around 750 Academic Clinical Fellows. For further information please contact:


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