If you are a clinician with an interesting research question, the first thing to do is talk to academics already working in this field. This might be at your hospital or university or elsewhere.
Try to find out what else is going on in that field, and talk to a mentor who will be able to support you through an application process. The Academy of Medical Sciences can offer help in finding a mentor. http://www.acmedsci.ac.uk/
Competition for fellowships and bursaries is tough, but there are many opportunities available.
Depending on your career stage you could apply for an NIHR post. These are advertised and you apply as you would a training post. You are paid a salary for these posts.
In Scotland the Scottish Clinical Research Excellence Development Scheme (SCREDS) runs an integrated career and development pathway which offers opportunities including clinical lectureships, out of programme research and appointments for advanced academic career development.
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This includes funding from industry such as large pharmaceutical companies and other private companies.
- charities such as British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK – the Association of Medical Research Charities provides information on funding opportunities with its members
- research councils including the Medical Research Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
- European Commission – Horizon 2020 scheme
- other UK Government departments including the Department of Health and the NIHR
- The Royal Society
- National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA – awards foreign grants for medical research
- independent charitable organisations such as the Wellcome Trust
The types of funding available vary widely but includes:
- Clinical Scientist Fellowships - where you usually spend between 50-80% of your time on research, and the remainder in the clinic)
- Research Training Fellowships – where you undertake a minimal amount of clinical work whilst completing a research based higher degree
- Senior Clinical Fellowships - an academic post at a university. By this stage you are responsible for running your own research team, and are usually managing several members of staff and undertaking various projects
The research funder provides funds to pay for a clinician’s salary while they work in the clinic and also undertake research.
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Organisations publish details of their funding process and closing dates on their websites.
Factors to consider when applying for clinical academic medicine funding:
- make sure your research fits that funder’s remit. Government funding agencies and charities will have a specific research focus or remit. For instance Cancer Research UK funds cancer relevant research
- talk to people about the best place to undertake this research and who else might need to be involved. Do you need to involve other senior clinicians? Do you need additional support staff to assist you?
- ensure you write a clear and carefully planned research proposal that fits the funders’ requirements. Your mentor or research supervisor can help you with this. Make sure what you’re proposing can be practically achieved in the period of funding you are requesting. Also ensure you’re asking for a suitable amount of funding for the research costs
- ask other researchers to proof read your application, in addition to your supervisor/mentor
- submit your application ahead of the deadline
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There are a number of organisations which provide information related to academic medicine:
- the NCCRCD (National Coordinating Centre for Research Capacity Development) has been replaced by the NIHR Trainees Coordinating Centre. The NIHR website provides information on recruitment to academic training posts
- UK Clinical Research Collaboration
- the Academy of Medical Sciences has careers information
- the Academy of Medical Educators is the professional organisation for all those involved in the education and training of medical students and doctors
- BMA has information for medical academics
If you are interested in medical education then go to the Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME) website as it has information about forthcoming events, publications etc.
Find out more about academic opportunities: