The Academic Foundation Program runs alongside the UK Foundation Program to provide training for those intending on a career in academic medicine. AFP doctors either do a separate academic rotation in place of one of their clinical rotations, or carry out academic activities part time throughout the year. They receive support from a named consultant for this.
AFPs are usually themed, with programs available in different specialties and in fields such as medical education.
Do bear in mind that AFPs are not the only route to a career in academic practice, nor are they an absolute requirement for ACF (Academic Clinical Fellowship) posts. All doctors are expected to carry out audit and other forms of research during their foundation years, and you may find other ways of being involved in clinical research or teaching that through a specific AFP.
Many thanks to yawnmonster for their help with this page.
This page remains under construction as of August 2013 and will be updated with more information in the coming months.
Contrary to past years, the AFP applications are done in parallel with the main Foundation Program. If applicants are unsuccessful, they return to the FP applicant pool with no disadvantage to their FP application.
Please see the main FPAS wiki page for a timeline of the application process.
AFP applicants will hear the results of their application on January 22nd 2014. A reserve list system exists to match candidates with open jobs if these become available (eg if a successful applicant chooses not to take up their place).
Units of Application
Whilst in FPAS you rank Foundation Schools, in AFP you are choosing between Units of Application. These are often very similar, but some foundation schools merge to form a single UoA for academic applications. Not all programs are offered at all UoAs, so consider which programs are available at each location before making your choices. Competition is also wise to consider - Oxford, Cambridge and London are all notoriously more difficult to get a job within.
This is intended to show the range of applicants to AFPs, not provide a guide to what you should have in order to apply. Note that there is no big difference between the successful and unsuccessful candidates shown here. Bear in mind that different AFP UoAs are looking for different things.
- 2:1 intercalated BSc, 1 publication (5th author of about 12), 1 international presentation, first author, good white space answers
- 1st previous degree, no publications (but some pending), no prizes
- 1 international presentation , 1 publication, 1 national presentation, 1 local audit , various teaching things, 2.1 bsc, distinction in years 1-4
- 2i BA (Neuroscience), 0 Publications, 0 Presentations, 1 Distinction and 1 minor academic prize
- 1st class degree, 2 publications, 1 national presentation as first author at a professional society, 1 national presentation as co-author at a professional society, multiple presentations at student run and local conferences, 2 distinctions thus far in MBBS, 1 national prize, 1 regional research poster prize, VC for the local academic medicine society
- 1st in intercalated BSc, local presentation, and some student teaching
- Distinction in MSc (Neurosci), 1 National presentation, 3 Local presentations, 1 Medical school prize, University academic scholarship, Distinctions in majority of university exams to date
- 2 publications, 1 academic prize, 6 conference presentations and a first class BSc
Here we have collated advice from several TSR users who have been through the AFP application process.
- All AFPs are different. Do you want a place with a 4 month protected academic block and the likely reduction in pay that would entail? On the other hand, those with the academic component not protected are extremely demanding as you have to do your research on the side of the pressures of being an FY1/2. Some programmes are themed - consider what you would do if offered a program that doesn't fit your interests, as you may be better off in the main FP than regretting your AFP choice.
- AFP is a bonus, not the be all and end all of an academic career. You can still do research as a non-AFP FY doctor if you approach consultants, AFP is just a bit more supported perhaps. It is not worth doing an AFP if you wouldn’t enjoy it or if it is in a field you are not interested in it.
- The application form includes a group of additional questions and space for extra publications/presentations not included on the normal FP form. The Scotland ones were 4 white space questions about why you want do an AFP and why in Scotland, your teaching experience(name at least 2), your research experience (name at least 2) and something about leadership. MAKE SURE YOU ACTUALLY ANSWER THE QUESTION – some excellent candidates did not make it to interview and it is probable they did not answer the questions properly and instead waffled. If you know someone who has been through the process before get them to read your answers and see if you have done that – not changing them but constructive feedback is helpful.
- Interviews are all very different. Some will get to you read a paper and answer questions on it, some have a clinical scenario (usually acute – OHCM clinical emergencies was useful revision for this). All had the usual ‘why academic medicine’. ‘what qualities do you think would make a good clinical academic’, ‘tell us about your research’ etc etc etc.
- They have a reserve list system, and lots of people got jobs through this but again, don’t take a job you don’t want!