Academic Psychiatry involves an integrated clinical research approach for understanding mental health and Neuroscience. It also includes designing advanced treatment approaches. This includes work from understanding the neuroscience of mental health, to developing treatment options and bringing innovative research to a patient's bedside and the community at large.
One of the training pathways in Academic Psychiatry involves the integrated clinical and academic training program. This program involves protected academic time and designated academic training parallel to the clinical training at every level in an Academic trainee's career.
The Academic Clinical fellowship (ACF) program is the training program for anyone interested in pursuing research and clinical practice together at the Core Psychiatry Training level following completion of their foundation training. The program provides an opportunity of Academic and Clinical Training for 3 years. The trainees get protected academic time to pursue their research interest. The program includes 25 % of the time protected for an academic area of interest and 75% of the time is allocated for clinical duties and training. This allows doctors to gain further research experience and apply for research fellowships, whilst at the same time as acquiring clinical skills in psychiatry and undertaking post-graduate membership exams for the Royal College of Psychiatrists. The outcome of an ACF is a research fellowship which enables doctors to take time out of clinical training to undertake a PhD/DPhil/MD. If the trainee chooses not to continue the academic carreer at the end of 3 years of ACF, they can continue as a run through clinical trainee in a designated Higher Specialty subject to ARCP approval.
The recruitment of ACF in psychiatry takes place through national recruitment each year (usually in September – October). Candidates are expected to apply for the ACF positions through Oriel. Following shortlisting, interviews are conducted. Details of the interview structure can be obtained here. Candidates will also need to apply for Core Psychiatry Training.
During the ACF training, opportunities are available to work in vast areas of academic expertise available in the West Midlands. Currently three universities across the West Midlands; the University of Birmingham, the University of Warwick and Keele University, participate in the academic training. The clinical placements along with the academic training are across the West Midland's depending on a trainee's training needs and academic interests.
On completing the research degree, clinical training can be completed as an Academic Clinical Lecturer (ACL) in a range of specialities (e.g. general adult, old age, forensic, intellectual disability, or child and adolescent psychiatry). An ACL offers the chance to undertake Postdoctoral research and working time is divided equally between research and clinical practice. The trainees can also pursue clinical training in the designated branch of specialty that they are interested in.