Skip to main content Skip to navigation

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: All SFP trainees will contribute to Phase 3 MBChB teaching by facilitating a minimum of 5 Case Based Learning (CBL) sessions during their academic rotation. CBL is similar to Problem-Based Learning (PBL) and is the key pedagogy at the core of the entire MBChB curriculum. In this important educational role, trainees will use small group skills to support the group of students to apply previous experience and knowledge to explore new topics, and learn the areas of the curriculum covered by an authentic but fictional patient case. Facilitators will be trained in small group skills, and further opportunities to develop these skills or contribute to additional educational activities can be discussed with Dr Louise Davis or Adele Kenny. Further details can be found here.


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 Jacqueline Guthrie 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 Jacqueline Guthrie, IAT Officer.