How to obtain an ACFor alternative source of pre-doctoral protected research time
The purpose of pre-doctoral protected research time is:
- to confirm that you are interested in and committed to a career in academic pathology
- to find a suitable research area and research group
- ultimately to prepare, apply for and achieve a doctoral Fellowship
There are three main sources of pre-doctoral protected research time in histopathology:
- NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship (ACF) (also see the NIHR IAT Guide)
- the PathSoc/CRUK Pre-doctoral Research Bursary
- the PathSoc/Jean Shanks Pre-doctoral Research Bursary
These posts are usually competitively sought after. To maximise your chance of success:
- Speak to current academic pathology trainees and ask their advice about the application process.
Contact the research group that you would like to join and arrange to meet. Ask if there are any small projects which you could get involved with. Ideally:
- apply for a small research grant e.g. the Pathsoc early career pathology researcher grant
- present the work at a relevant meeting e.g. the PathSoc Summer or Winter meetings
- publish the work
Boost your CV and demonstrate a commitment to academia by doing the following:
- Attend the PathSoc National Academic Trainee Network Meetings: a source of peer support, networking and research skills training.
- Write e.g. submit articles to the RCPath Bulletin, the ACP News or write a case report.
- Consider joining an academic pathology committee
- Carry out public engagement
- Have a game plan for the next 5-10 years - what do you ultimately want to achieve and do you know the steps you need to take to get there?