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Specialised Foundation Programme

Specialised Foundation Training Programmes in the West Midlands Deanery

NHS West Midlands Workforce Deanery, the Universities of Birmingham, Warwick and Keele, NHS teaching trusts and GP practices have developed 10 two year integrated Specialised Foundation programmes for trainees who are considering careers in clinical academic medicine.

The NHS has recognised that clinical academics, who undertake research and teaching form a crucial part of the NHS and is developing a clear point of entry, career structure, and training programme for doctors who wish to pursue this career pathway.

Programmes will engage trainees in rotations which value research and/or education and provide the individual with every opportunity to explore research and/or education interests. Clinical service and training will still comprise the majority of the trainee’s timetable.

First Foundation Year

In the first foundation year, postholders must focus on achieving the requirements for full registration by the General Medical Council but, in addition, will receive coaching, support, mentoring and supervision by a skilled senior academic to prepare for the second foundation year and subsequent academic specialty career. The formal teaching programme and other related experiences will be the same as for any other foundation trainee.

Second Foundation Year

In the second foundation year, one block is designated for academic training and preparation for application for academic clinical fellowship programme.

The programmes will deliver training for post holders to achieve a range of academic competencies as well as clinical competencies as stipulated by the “Curriculum for the Foundation Years in Postgraduate Education and Training”, and full registration with the General Medical Council.

Aims of academic programmes

Achievements in our academic foundation programmes would strengthen an application for clinical specialist training or an academic clinical fellowship in any specialty.

The programmes are suitable for

  • trainees who wish to explore their potential for a career in medical research and/ or education
  • trainees who have made firm decisions to commit to an academic career

The specific aims of our foundation academic programmes are

  • to achieve all competencies in the Foundation Programme in preparation for specialist training
  • to provide exposure to academic medicine, clinical science and evidence based clinical practice to provide a foundation for a career in academic medicine

General information

The trainees will rotate through 3 four month modules in each foundation year. Contracts of employment will be held by Trusts and will be for a fixed term of 12 months.

The academic programme in each of the three universities is different, but all three programmes involve one full time clinical academic placement with mentoring, coaching and appraisal by an established senior clinical academic.

Please note that rotations and specialties are subject to change.

Progress review

You will undergo Annual Review of Competence Progression with your Clinical and Academic Supervisor. The latest version of the Gold Guide - A Reference Guide for Postgraduate Specialty Training in the UK - includes the relevant forms and lots of general information. The Report on Academic Trainee's ProgressLink opens in a new window form should be completed a month in advance of the ARCP meeting.

Development Opportunities

Postgraduate modules: SFPs will be funded to undertake up to 3 modules (60 CATS). Modules should be selected from any of our 3 main MSc programmes and may result in a PGCert if selected modules align to a specific course as indicated on the course pages. Modules can be taken at any time over the two-year SFP period. Details of how to apply can be found hereLink opens in a new window.

Case Based Learning: If you interested in developing your small group facilitation skills, you may wish to consider volunteering to support Case Based Learning (CBL) for the medical students. CBL is similar to problem-based learning and is the key pedagogy at the core of the entire MBChB curriculum. CBL facilitation is an educational activity but does not involve any direct teaching. Small group skills are used to facilitate groups who discuss authentic but fictional patient cases in depth, covering many important topics to explore further. Facilitator training is provided (approximately 6 hours). Facilitators prepare for each case by reading the provided case guide and ensure they are familiar with content of the case (2-4 hours). Facilitators must attend a briefing for the session followed by facilitating 2 groups in each session (about 5 hours). Ideally facilitators have regular group(s) for at least 1-2 terms. Opportunities for development as an educator (and learning log entries) in gathering feedback from students and observation by senior staff. For more information, please contact Dr Louise Davis


A modest fund is available to support Specialised Foundation Year trainees attendance/presentation at appropriate meetings to pursue their research interests and develop their academic profile. Allocation of funding will be considered on a case by case basis and will be limited to ensure everyone potentially has some financial support. Applications should be submitted on the Application for Funding FormLink opens in a new window to Adele Kenny and signed by Associate Clinical Professor Joyce Yeung. If approved, further to the spend you will need to complete the detailed university expenses claim form and attach it to your funding form and provide them both to Adele Kenny, IAT Officer.