Exeter locally funded ACF post Job Description


1. Job title, Level and NTN accreditation

Academic Clinical Fellowship (ACF) in Primary Care

ST1 / ST2 Level

25% Academic/Research and 75% Clinical

This post attracts a National Training Number (Academic).


2. Duration of post

The duration of an ACF will be for a maximum of 3 years or 4 years in General Practice.

During this time the trainee combines clinical specialty or core training with academic training which is geared to competing for a training fellowship


3. Who is eligible to apply?

ACF posts are opened to individuals entering specialty training and those who are currently in a Specialty training Registrar (StR) posts and hold a NTN.


Prospective applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for entry into Specialty Training at the level advertised. The person specification can be viewed on the GPNRO website


4. Recruitment to ACF

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for ACF interviews organised by Health Education South West, which will have an academic and clinical component, you will be required to pass all components of the interview.


Applicants who do not hold a National Training Number (NTN) / Deanery Reference Number (DRN) in the GMC specialty to which they are applying for will be required to undertake the national clinical recruitment process and attend an assessment/interview for that GMC specialty as appropriate.

Applicants who already have a NTN/DRN in the specialty they are applying for do not need to participate in national recruitment as they have already been benchmarked for clinical ability/potential.


5. Completion of an ACF

When trainees successfully obtain a fellowship, they normally spend 3 years outside of their clinical programme in Out of Programme Research (OOPR) working towards the completion of an MD or PhD (or equivalent). Trainees will need to obtain agreement from Health Education South West to take the time out of their clinical programme.


This will not normally be refused. Agreement to taking time out of programme will require confirmation that you have achieved relevant clinical competences and is ready to leave the clinical programme, and ideally that the research project has been peer reviewed and approved.


On completion of a training fellowship, you will return to the clinical programme and at an appropriate point may competitively apply for a Clinical Lectureship provided that appropriate academic and clinical competences have been obtained or continue in clinical training.


6. Clinical vs Research Training

Satisfactory progress by the trainee requires ring fencing of clinical training time for clinical work and research training time for research. For some trainees, research is best undertaken in blocks of 3 or 6 months; for others, research and clinical training is best integrated on a sessional basis each week.


 7. Location of Clinical Training

Just as the arrangements for timing clinical and research training are best made on an individual basis, so too should be the location of training. Thus, for many clinical academic trainees, clinical training is best arranged entirely in an academic centre where both clinical and research activities occur; for others, it may be useful to rotate to other clinical centres to acquire additional skills or experiences. Location in proximity of the research institution will be advantageous as it will facilitate research supervision and ongoing engagement with the academic community and its activities.


8. Research institutions in which training will take place

The research training will predominantly be in University of Exeter Medical School, although courses or attachments to other centres to develop r research skills will be supported.


9. Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP)

Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP) will, for the clinical academic trainee, involve review of both clinical and academic progress and therefore be undertaken by clinical and academic staff together. Although progress on both clinical and academic fronts will be documented, and future training needs for both identified, a single outcome will be determined.


10. Overview of the Exeter post

 Our aim is to develop and inspire the GP research leaders of the future. Our General Practice ACF training is jointly run with the University of Exeter Collaboration for Academic Primary Care (APEx, Director). Prof Jose M Valderas is academic lead for the ACF programme. The post holder will attend the monthly training seminars and workshops and other relevant organised by APEx.


APEx has several associated research groups, and provides opportunities for involvement in research across a wide range of subject areas and methodologies. Clinical areas include care for people with multimorbidity, access to care, quality and safety of care, use of patient reported information (PROMs) in clinical practice, self-care support, diabetes, diagnostics, elderly care and mental health. Methodological expertise includes: questionnaire design and analysis, qualitative interview and ethnographic studies, behavioural science, randomised controlled trials, analysis of large datasets and scientific literature based secondary research. Further opportunities are available within the wider health services research groupings in the medical school.


As an ACF in the Peninsula you will have the opportunity to work and interact with leading academics in order to help you understand the different opportunities and career pathways. In years 1-2 ACFs will be able to attend bi-monthly half day meetings to discuss projects, share ideas and on monthly basis attend a seminar as part of the APEx seminar series.  They will be encouraged to attend at least two research conferences per year.  This time will be taken as study leave. In years 3-4 ACFs will spend the equivalent of one full year in academic activities.  The time will be divided to suit the ACF’s career and will typically be a 40:60 split.


ACFs will either create their own bespoke training programme, based on needs, or sign up for a research masters (MSc) course (for example, in Applied Health Services Research). This will ensure you develop an understanding of a range of research methods and are well prepared for a career that incorporates both research and general practice.


 ACFs will have a mentor/academic supervisor from the start to support decision making and problem solving.  By year 3 they will be expected to be associated with a research programme or project within either of the Medical Schools.  They will develop their own research project related to the wider research programme.  You will have additional methodological supervision if required.  At the start of year three many ACFs will be in a position to decide whether they wish to apply for a NIHR-funded PhD or MD fellowship after their ACF training.


For more information:



Academic Lead

Professor Jose M Valderas J.M.Valderas@exeter.ac.uk 01392 722743 


Clinical Lead

Dr Paul Thomas paul.thomas@hee.nhs.uk 01752 676100