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Improving training and support for clinical academics

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by Cancer Research UK | Research Feature

31 January 2017

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Clinical Academic Principles and Obligations

We’re committed to providing the supportive, flexible training environment that is essential for developing a successful clinical academic career. Our new guidance sets out how we expect clinical academic training to be delivered

Research-active clinicians provide a valuable bridge between research and clinical practice. We’ve worked with funders from across the medical research community to develop principles and obligations setting out what we expect from those responsible for clinical training, trainees and funders across the UK. We want to ensure that academic training is acknowledged, recognised and integrated with clinical training and work, and that clinical academics feel valued for their important contribution.

In newly published guidance, we set out the key principles and obligations to ensure clinical academic researchers are appropriately supported at critical stages and through the most difficult transitions in their careers. We have placed emphasis on:

  • a flexible approach to integrating clinical and academic training
  • parity in pay and progression across clinical and academic career tracks – including protection of employment rights when transferring employment from a NHS trust or board to an academic institution, and vice versa
  • leadership development, coaching, mentorship and career guidance.

These principles and obligations will have UK-wide impact. With our partners, we will collectively evaluate the impact of this work on an ongoing basis and will integrate the principles into peer review of funding.

Developing the principles and obligations united major biomedical research organisations*, and builds on the partnership’s earlier review of clinical academic careers, which identified enablers and barriers to progression.


*The partners are:

  • Academy of Medical Sciences
  • British Heart Foundation
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Conference of Postgraduate Medical Deans of the United Kingdom (COPMeD)
  • Health Education England
  • Integrated Academic Training Advisory Committee (InterACt)
  • Medical Research Council
  • Medical Schools Council
  • National Institute of Health Research
  • The Royal College of Physicians
  • Wellcome Trust

The British Medical Association and the British Dental Association were consulted on, and support, the principles.