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    Hey,

    I'm a fifth year medical student due to graduate at the end of this year.

    I've been thinking about an academic career since the beginning of medical school and have tried to gain as many opportunities as possible in terms of research, publication, posters etc.

    However, I feel like I'm not getting anywhere and was looking for some advice. I've applied for summer placements every year since first year to get some experience in research, including contacting various academic clinicians but have never managed to gain any experience.
    I also applied to intercalate twice, but unfortunately my medical school only offered one third of students to intercalate and my application was rejected both times.

    I have tried to get involved with research as much as I can through student-selected projects, and have won three essay prizes (one of which I tried to get published) as a result, but I know this isn't enough to gain a career in academia.

    I applied for the AFP but was rejected (to be honest I don't think I expected much without an intercalated degree or publication) and now feel like any hopes for an academic career are out the window. I just find it so frustrating as I feel like I am trying so hard and putting in as much effort as possible to try and collaborate in something that I love and enjoy, yet so much of it is down to luck (such as getting into an intercalated degree, getting published etc).

    My question is, have I completely blown it, or will there be opportunities after I graduate to get involved in research despite not being involved in the AFP? I am willing to take a few years out to do a postgraduate degree - in fact, I really want to - but I'm not sure how feasible that would be given my lack of experience in research and the opportunities available.

    More than anything else, I made this post out of demotivation and was hoping that there may be future opportunities down the line and that my limited undergraduate experience won't hold me back.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Hey,

    I'm a fifth year medical student due to graduate at the end of this year.

    I've been thinking about an academic career since the beginning of medical school and have tried to gain as many opportunities as possible in terms of research, publication, posters etc.

    However, I feel like I'm not getting anywhere and was looking for some advice. I've applied for summer placements every year since first year to get some experience in research, including contacting various academic clinicians but have never managed to gain any experience.
    I also applied to intercalate twice, but unfortunately my medical school only offered one third of students to intercalate and my application was rejected both times.

    I have tried to get involved with research as much as I can through student-selected projects, and have won three essay prizes (one of which I tried to get published) as a result, but I know this isn't enough to gain a career in academia.

    I applied for the AFP but was rejected (to be honest I don't think I expected much without an intercalated degree or publication) and now feel like any hopes for an academic career are out the window. I just find it so frustrating as I feel like I am trying so hard and putting in as much effort as possible to try and collaborate in something that I love and enjoy, yet so much of it is down to luck (such as getting into an intercalated degree, getting published etc).

    My question is, have I completely blown it, or will there be opportunities after I graduate to get involved in research despite not being involved in the AFP? I am willing to take a few years out to do a postgraduate degree - in fact, I really want to - but I'm not sure how feasible that would be given my lack of experience in research and the opportunities available.

    More than anything else, I made this post out of demotivation and was hoping that there may be future opportunities down the line and that my limited undergraduate experience won't hold me back.
    The most important thing for an academic career is doing a PhD.

    I don't think the lack of AFP is a problem in itself.
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    You aren't "finished" yet if you are still keen. The AFP can make it easier to get an Academic Clinical Fellowship, which then almost makes it inevitable that you will pursue a PhD. You don't need an AFP or even an ACF to take on a PhD - in fact, I'd guess that 50% of clinical PhD candidates didn't come through this route. You can still apply for ACFs without an AFP but the competition will have had an extra four months in which to accrue research experience, presentations, and publications.

    Getting onto a PhD programme probably isn't that difficult but will depend on the competitiveness of your specialty (all cardiology SpRs seem to need a PhD at some stage...), whether you're willing to go anywhere (universities outside the golden triangle of Oxford, Cambridge, and London have a harder job filling clinical PhD places), and what you are willing to accept in terms of funding. Some PhD students have no specific funding but survive as a locum*, others are funded but required to undertake clinical work (e.g. clinics or on-calls) as part of their funding arrangement, and others have a full fellowship that permits them freedom to focus on their research 100%. Your ultimate success as a clinical academic (once you have a PhD) would depend on publications and research funding.

    * Not a difficult task... I currently earn more than a new full-time consultant for 24 hours clinical work per week but this can slow down your research progress.
 
 
 
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