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South East Scotland Academic Foundation Programme

18 Academic Foundation posts

South East Scotland has an excellent environment in which to undertake clinical and academic training. There are eighteen posts available within the two year Academic Foundation Programme (AFP) commencing August 2018, some of which include a dedicated research block. The primary objective of this AFP, as for all other foundation programmes, is to ensure satisfactory clinical training through the attainment of foundation competencies (as defined by the Foundation Curriculum and demonstrated through successful completion of the Foundation ePortfolio).

How is the Clinical Programme of the Academic Foundation Programme Structured and Allocated?

The Lothian University Hospitals are a Division of Lothian Health and bring together the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (~850 beds), the Western General Hospital (~500 beds), St John’s Hospital, Livingston and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children. Thus the Division has three large acute teaching hospitals and a specialised paediatric hospital. The programme also involves hospitals in the Fife and Borders regions of Scotland, where outstanding District General Hospital experience is offered.

FY1: The FY1 rotations exist as pre-established triplicates and these are specified in attached documentation.  The eighteen successful applicants to the AFP will be allocated one of the pre-specified triplicates. The allocation is made by the Foundation Programme Director, but where possible the allocation takes into account the preferences of the successful applicants.

FY2: There are eighteen separate posts available in FY2 (again listed in supporting documentation), which cover a broad range of clinical specialities. Each foundation doctor will undertake three of these posts, but the rotations are not pre-established.  Instead, the rotations are individually constructed by the Foundation Programme Director taking account of the personal preferences of the foundation doctors, while ensuring a broad range of different specialities are experienced. There are six FY2 rotations comprising two clinical posts and one dedicated research block and nine posts comprising three clinical placements, all within academic units in Edinburgh as detailed below.


What Are The Academic Components of the Programme?


Each academic foundation trainee will be allocated an academic mentor at the start of FY1. Mentors will support trainees and encourage them to complete a research project during the course of their foundation training. Academic trainees will be encouraged to embrace the academic culture of the units to which they are attached.


a) Six posts comprising two clinical placements and one full time research block. FYs interested in undertaking a research block will need to prepare a competitive application during the first rotation of FY1, identifying a supervisor and a project. Research in most specialties can be undertaken, including academic primary care. The Academic Director for SE Scotland, Dr Mandy Drake, can work with you to identify supervisors and projects as soon as you are appointed. Note that the academic block is a new feature of the scheme and will be available for those commencing the FY scheme from August 2017 onwards. FYs will need to show satisfactory clinical progression before undertaking these blocks. It is likely that there may be more applicants than posts available and therefore these posts will not be guaranteed, but will be awarded following competitive interview. This application process will be an excellent training opportunity towards further academic fellowship applications.

b) Nine posts comprising three clinical placements, all within academic units in Edinburgh. Trainees will still benefit from exposure to a high quality research culture throughout their second foundation year.

Academic Days: For both FY2 streams, four days per block will be approved as Academic Foundation Personal Study Days. These days may be supplemented by additional Academic Meeting days during FY2.


The City of Edinburgh

Edinburgh has a population of approximately half a million people and is a city of great distinction and beauty. It is served by excellent rail links to the north and south by the East Coast Line. Edinburgh International Airport provides direct links to many British, European and North American cities.

Edinburgh is the political and financial capital of Scotland, and is home to the Scottish Parliament and headquarters to the major financial institutions. Edinburgh is famous for its International Festival which takes place for three weeks every August, but Edinburgh also has a great variety of artistic opportunities in music, theatre and film throughout the year. There are numerous private and public golf courses and sports clubs, and major sporting events at Murrayfield stadium. Being a fairly compact city, there is easy access to glorious countryside. Edinburgh also has a number of first-class schools and a wide choice of housing, varying from Georgian elegance to modern.


Academic Medicine in Edinburgh

Biomedical research in the University of Edinburgh was rated 14th in the world and 4th in Europe by the Times Higher Education supplement (2006). Edinburgh has an enviable track record in attracting high quality clinical PhD students and in postdoctoral training in clinical academics, including clinicians from “neglected” or “craft” specialities (including A&E, psychiatry, surgery, O&G, microbiology, pathology etc). While the number of clinical Lectureships has declined substantially across the UK in the last 15 years, in Edinburgh there has been an investment in clinical academic trainees and the complement of Lectureships has expanded. 

The academic disciplines within Medicine are largely concentrated in the two teaching hospitals in Edinburgh, namely the new Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France (NRIE) and the Western General Hospital (WGH). The NRIE was recently constructed on a green field site under a Private Finance Initiative (completed 2002). It is a state-of-the-art multi-speciality hospital linked to the Medical School which is housed in two purpose-built teaching and research facilities, the Chancellor’s Building and the Queen’s Medical Research Institute, providing the accommodation and facilities required for the majority of the clinical students and associated academic clinical staff previously located at the Old Royal Infirmary.

The Western General Hospital (WGH) has also undergone major redevelopment of its clinical research and teaching facilities. The Molecular Medicine Centre (£5m) was opened in 1995, a new Clinical Research Facility (£4m; joint development between the Wellcome Trust, University and Lothian Health), a £40m new clinical wing, the Anne Ferguson Building, and a new Medical Education Centre (£1m) were opened in 2001, and a new Cancer Research Building (£7m) in 2002. The University (through its Medical School) and Lothian Health work in close collaboration to ensure the integration of the Health Board's Integrated Health Care Plan for Lothian with the University's teaching and research plans.

The Edinburgh Clinical Academic Track (ECAT) Lectureships is a unique “cradle to grave” training opportunity that combines parallel higher specialist clinical training with the opportunity to undertake a fully funded PhD and postdoctoral research, in a supportive and scientifically stimulating environment. Successful ECAT lecturers will have an unrivalled opportunity to develop their academic careers and be placed in an excellent situation to apply for both Intermediate Fellowships and Senior Clinical Fellowships, and ultimately substantive University funded academic posts. 

Further information on the ECAT scheme can be found at (external link)

For further information regarding South East Scotland Academic Programme please contact:

Dr Bryan Conway at

Dr Mandy Drake at

Or at the website: (external link)

This page was last updated on: 06.03.2018 at 16.53.