Plymouth 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 (across four years)

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 (for ST2 appointment) or 4 years (for ST1 appointment).


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

GP fellows will undertake academic pursuits which will support their application for further appropriate training to support their academic career development, for example application for a personal training fellowship to undertake an MD/PhD, or similar suitable training posts relevant to their experience and circumstances.


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.


8. Research institutions in which training will take place

The research training will predominantly be in the University of Plymouth Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, although courses or attachments to other centres to develop 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 post

Our aim is to develop and inspire the GP research leaders of the future. Our Primary Care ACF training is run by the Primary Care Group at Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, led by Prof Richard Byng. 

The post holder will attend the training seminars organised across the medical school, receive project supervision from subject or methodological experts and individual supervision from Prof Richard Byng.

The Primary Care Group provides opportunities for involvement in research across a wide range of programmes and methodologies. Areas of particular expertise include the consultation, behavioural and social medicine, multi morbidity, new models of care, care for marginalised groups, mental health, child health and social prescribing. Methodological expertise includes: complex intervention development and evaluation, qualitative research, ethnographic studies, behavioural science, randomised controlled trials and analysis of large datasets. Further opportunities are available within the wider health services research groupings across the medical school and Institute of Health and Community across the medical school. There are opportunities to link with the Dental, Mental health and Emergency Care ACFs within the medical school. You can find out more about research activities in PUPSMD Primary Care Group.

 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 meetings to discuss projects and share ideas.  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 and 60:40 split in years 3-4.

 ACFs will either create their own bespoke training programme, based on needs, or sign up for a research masters (MSc) course 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.

 Professor Byng will act as a mentor/academic supervisor to support your career decision making and for problem solving.  You will have additional methodological supervision if required.

 From year 1 ACFs will be associated with a research programme or project within the Medical School.  You will develop your own research project related to a wider research programme in years 3-4.  At the start of year three many ACFs will be in a position to have decided whether they wish to apply for a NIHR-funded PhD or MD fellowship after their ACF training.


  11. Description of clinical component

The ACF will enter a four year General Practice Specialty Training (GPST) programme, of which 18 months will be in approved hospital posts. To ensure the ACF becomes a competent, effective and confident GP of tomorrow as well as directly addressing the GP curriculum the training will be tailored to the ACFs individual needs and their particular rate of progress.

GP posts are undertaken in a wide variety of locations, and always in an approved training practice under the supervision of a GP trainer. The ACF will receive personalised tuition from an experienced GP who has had further training as an educationalist, as well as other members of the Primary Health Care Team. The training will be targeted to their identified needs.

The ACF will be offered a complete programme that complies with the regulations set down by the GMC. All posts are accredited and approved for GP training. The specialties available include: General Medicine, Elderly Care Medicine, Paediatrics, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Psychiatry ENT, Emergency Medicine and ophthalmology.


12. How the post links to NIHR approved research training programme

Research skills are developed through formal teaching and through working with experienced researchers on specific projects.  Academic training will be tailored to individuals’ needs and trainees will be encouraged to take part in the PUPSMD research training programme. Details of the training opportunities are provided in a local ‘ACF guide’ provided to all trainees. All ACFs are supported to achieve up to 40 credits via a variety of training options: Core modules are available from a range from the MClinRes, MClinEd and ResM programmes, including Applied Qualitative Research Methods, Applied Quantitative Research Methods and Applying Evidence to Practice. Fellows will be encouraged to obtain the 60 credits required for Certificate Stage in their chosen programme. Alternatively trainees can apply to external training including on line courses.

ACFs can also access the extensive early career researcher training opportunities that are provided by the University of Plymouth, via its Researcher Development Programme, with sessions available in each of the four key domains: Knowledge and Intellectual Abilities; Personal Effectiveness; Research Governance and Organisation; Engagement, Influence and Impact. Training is also provided in ‘Applying for Research Funding’ to assist trainees in moving on to a PhD. All integrated academic trainees are invited to two networking events each year, where progress and guidance regarding career progression are discussed.

This flexible programme is designed to meet the trainees’ needs for development of transferable skills, in discussion with their research supervisors. Mentoring will be separate to research supervision and will focus on career development and other issues that the ACF chooses to bring. The integrated academic trainee lead (Dr Camille Carroll) links incoming ACFs via email and social activities to the existing cohort and offer an additional option to ACFs for careers and training advice.


Academic Lead:

Prof Richard Byng:   07765 400752


Clinical Lead

Dr Paul Thomas: 01752 676100