The Wellcome Trust-funded GW4 Clinical Academic Training programme (GW4-CAT) brings together the Universities of Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter in developing the next generation of clinical academics.

Within this programme, exceptional early career medical, veterinary and dental graduates will have the chance to undertake interdisciplinary PhD training in one of over 50 world-leading research groups in population health, cardiovascular sciences, neuroscience, mental health, infection, immunity & repair, cancer or molecular cell biology.

The scheme is aimed at exceptionally motivated clinically qualified trainees who can demonstrate the capability and drive to undertake a period of research with a view to developing a long-term career as a clinical academic.  Applicants will have previously undertaken research such as an Academic Clinical Fellowship (medical and dental graduates), an internship or residency (veterinary) or via an alternative route such as the Clinical Primer from Bristol or similar schemes from Cardiff and Exeter.

To be eligible for entry into the programme you must have a qualification that allows you to practice clinically in the UK. Please see our Eligibility Criteria page for further details.

Project Proposal and Supervisory Team

Applicants are not expected to have developed a final project proposal by the time of application or interview but they should have researched the available supervisors and have a project outline in mind.

Each cohort will attend an introductory week in the Spring and will use this time to assess the equipment and supervisory expertise available at the participating institutions in order to start putting together a formal proposal.

The Directors of the GW4-CAT Programme will work closely with successful applicants to develop their project proposals and find the most appropriate supervisory combination to meet their career and research ambitions. The supervisory team will be selected AFTER acceptance of a place on the Programme.

Each Research Training Fellow will have a primary supervisor chosen from the available supervisor pool. Fellows will also choose a team of secondary supervisors and appropriate collaborators from across the GW4-CAT institutions in order to embrace the interdisciplinary and inter-institutional ethos of the Programme.

GW4-CAT fellows will usually be interviewed on their project proposal by the Board of Directors in July (or the most appropriate month for their PhD start date), after which they will be provided with feedback from the panel and more time to develop their project, if necessary.

Training and Mentoring

 Fellows will be required to select a clinical mentor, who will offer career guidance and play a crucial supportive role throughout the PhD process. This mentor should be carefully chosen to best match the GW4-CAT fellow’s career ambitions, clinical specialty and mentoring needs. Due to this, the mentor does not have to be employed by one of the three participating institutions.

Alongside exceptional and individualised clinical mentoring, Fellows will also have access to a wide range of core and specialist training modules to support their research and career ambitions. There will be an annual induction week in September, during which the GW4-CAT cohorts will receive core training and spend time getting to know each other and their supervisors. They will also receive support towards specialist courses or training on an individual basis.

Successful trainees will also have an opportunity to be supported beyond the PhD through a post-doctoral Academic Clinical Lectureship as part of a ‘run-through’ training scheme which will be core to the training philosophy of GW4-CAT.

For more details about training offered, see our Training and Activities page.

Unsuccessful Candidates

 Applicants who are shortlisted and invited to interview but are not successful in securing a GW4-CAT fellowship will receive:

  • Support from the programme manager and one of the programme directors in building their project for one further submission to GW4-CAT
  • Advice and mentorship though the application process for an equivalent research training award from other funders, such as the MRC or NIHR.

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