Intended for healthcare professionals


Clinical academics’ postdoctoral career development

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 30 December 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6945
  1. Veronica Ranieri, research associate12,
  2. Helen Barratt, clinical senior research associate1,
  3. Naomi Fulop, professor of health care organisation and management1,
  4. Geraint Rees, director2
  1. 1Department of Applied Health Research, University College London, London, UK
  2. 2Academic Careers Office, School of Life and Medical Sciences, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK
  1. Correspondence to: G Rees g.rees{at}

Could be helped by mentoring, improving the work environment, and better access to funding

Over the past 20 years commentators have warned of an impending crisis in academic medicine resulting from a failure to attract and retain medically qualified, clinical researchers.1 2 In 2005, in response to these challenges, the UK government established an integrated academic training pathway to generate a “pipeline” of world class future clinical academics. This pathway, overseen by the National Institute for Health Research, encourages junior doctors with an interest in research to advance from an academic clinical fellowship, and after completion of a PhD, to clinical lectureship.3 Each step along this path is competitively awarded and provides a formal structure in which trainees receive protected research time alongside their clinical training. However, whether this pathway boosts our supply of clinical academics has yet to be assessed.

Recent exit data for clinical PhD graduates from two of the largest funding bodies in the UK, the Wellcome Trust and Cancer Research UK, suggest that about …

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