Research

 

Cambridge is a fantastic place for research, from basic science to translation. The sheer scope of research options available can be daunting, especially for those new to Cambridge, new to research, or both.

There are multiple ways that infection trainees can become involved in research, with routes in for registrars with minimal prior experience in academia and those with established post-doctoral research careers, and everything in between!

Routes into Research

Academic Clinical Fellowships (ACFs) typically have 25% time dedicated to academic pursuits. In Cambridge these are often 3 year posts, with 3-month blocks of research per year. The most common entry points into this programme are at IMT1 and ST3 level. 

ACFs provide an opportunity to try different lab and research settings, to develop research skills including presenting and publishing, and to gather preliminary data to support applications for PhD or post-doctoral funding. PhDs or MDs can be undertaken during registrar training and trainees can often remain on the on-call rota to maintain clinical experience.

Clinical lecturer (CL) posts offer 50% research time and are for post-doctoral academic clinicians. After completion of training, clinical academics can apply for grants to support ongoing research as clinician scientists.

However, there are many variations to this path. The Academic Foundation Programme (AFP) is not a prerequisite for an ACF post, and there are other routes into research. For example, Cambridge Clinical Research Fellowships, funded through the Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT), gives successful applicants funding for up to one year including salary support and consumables.

For further information on pursuing an academic career alongside clinical training in Cambridge, see the Clinical Academic Training Office (CATO) website: https://gcat.medschl.cam.ac.uk/clinical-academic-training-office/

More details about ACT applications can be found here: https://www.act4addenbrookes.org.uk/about-us/news/news-news/cambridge-clinical-research-fellowships-applications-now-open.

 

Preparation is particularly important to help you manage your transition between clinical training and research. You are strongly encouraged to consult the SuppoRTT pages of the Deanery website well in advance. You will find flowcharts elucidating the process and requirements for applying for time out of training as well as advice to help you transition back to clinical work after your time out. : 

More information can be found here: https://heeoe.hee.nhs.uk/psw/supportt-supported-return-training/supportt-trainees

 

Research options

There are a huge number of research options in Cambridge broadly related to infection. These include everything from “wet lab” (pipetting, cell culture, experimental genetics etc) to “dry lab” (bioinformatics, ‘omics’, big data), epidemiology and clinical trials.

Useful resources to browse and contact potential research groups are the Cambridge Infectious Disease Network (https://www.infectiousdisease.cam.ac.uk/),  Cambridge Immunology Network (https://www.immunology.cam.ac.uk/) and the WHO Collaborating Centre for modelling evolution and control of emerging infectious diseases (http://www.whocc.infectiousdisease.cam.ac.uk/).

You could also search by institution – major research institutions in and around Cambridge include:

  • Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

  • Cambridge University Department of Medicine

  • Cambridge Institute for Therapeutic Immunology & Infectious Disease (CITIID)

  • Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (CIMR)

  • Babraham Institute

  • Cambridge Computational Biology Institute

  • Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute

  • Wellcome Sanger Institute

  • European Bioinformatics Institute

  • Gurdon Institute

  • MRC Biostatistics Unit

  • MRC Epidemiology Unit

  • Public Health England

  • Wellcome-MRC Stem Cell Institute

  • WHO Collaborating

If you’ve not done much research and are starting an ACF, it may be helpful to try different research experiences (eg. including wet and dry lab) before pursuing a specific research area further. Talking with other trainees and clinicians involved in different types of research is strongly encouraged.

NITCAR

The National Infection Collaborative for Audit and Research is a group of trainees in all infection specialties who conduct national research, audit and service evaluation. Cambridge has been a major participant in the inception and development of NITCAR, which runs 1-2 projects per year. More information can be found on this website (http://nitcollaborative.org.uk/wp/). 

Please contact Jordan Skittrall if you would like to find out more (see contact us below). 

Useful Contacts

The academic leads for infection in 2021 are consultants Dr Mike Weekes (ID), Prof Ravi Gupta (MM) and Prof  Ian Brierley (MV).

Dr Weekes can be contacted to discuss research opportunities (michael.weekes@addenbrookes.nhs.uk)

Dr Charlotte Summers is Director of the Academic Clinical Fellow programme and Deputy Director of Clinical Academic Training in Cambridge. Mrs Ann Enticknap is the Clinical Academic Programmes Manager. Further information and contact details can be found on CATO website (https://gcat.medschl.cam.ac.uk/clinical-academic-training-office/)

 Many of the infection registrars across infectious diseases, microbiology and virology are actively involved in research and would be happy to offer advice. Will Hamilton (William.hamilton@addenbrookes.nhs.uk) is current SpR representative for academic training and is happy to be contacted for advice. Jordan Skittrall (Jordan.skittrall@addenbrookes.nhs.uk) is happy to be contacted regarding further information for NITCAR (see above).

Tuesday, 17 August, 2021
Make this a News Item?: 
Show Between Dates: 
Tuesday, 17 August, 2021
X