Academic Clinical Fellows

An Academic Clinical Fellowship (ACF) is a specialised training post combined with academic work.

ACFs are appointed by the North Western Postgraduate Deanery. The post is made up of 75% clinical training and 25% academic research. Appointments are usually over a 3-year period with the exception of General Practice which is for 4-years. By the end of the appointment, ACFs should have successfully applied for external funding to continue their academic careers, for example, through securing a place on an MD or PhD programme.

How to apply

 ACF recruitment is undertaken by NHS England (NHSE)

Recruitment usually begins in October for an August start date the following year.

Application timeline

  • ACF posts advertised: Mid-October
  • Closing date for applications: Mid-November
  • Invitation to interview: November/December
  • Interviews: End of November to beginning of January
  • Appointment offers: Mid-January to beginning of February
  • Start date: August

Funding Support

Funding options are available for ACFs to support your training and research.

NIHR £1,000 Bursary

This bursary is for expenses incurred in connection with conferences and meetings that are directly applicable to your research field or for the presentation of research findings.

Funding is available to you each year you are a trainee, for as long as the NIHR provides the bursary.

  • An ACF can claim a maximum of £1,000 for expenses that have been incurred during that trainee year. Expenses are only incurred on the date the event occurs, for example, a train ticket booked in advance can only be reimbursed once it has been used for travel.
  • A trainee year is each 12-month period that follows a trainee’s start date. For example, if a trainee starts on 1 August then their trainee year will run from 1 August to 31 July.
  • 10% of the bursary can be used towards PPIE.
  • The bursary does not cover claims for clinical courses, including revision courses, consumables, kit, laptops, books, etc. Only academic courses and conferences, with associated travel, accommodation and subsistence costs. 
Unspent funds
  • You may be able to claim any unspent bursary money from the previous year along with your current year’s allocation upon submission of a written request to the ICAT Coordinator.
  • Requests to use funds from the previous year will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Once your programme has ended you will not be able to claim any unspent money.
Applying to use the bursary

Find out how to make a claim for use of the bursary fund, see our information for current ACFs.

Research Training Programme (RTP)

ACFs have the option of completing an MRes or modules of an MRes funded by the RTP. Claims of up to £4,500 can be made towards the cost of course fees, provided the course covers the generic research training stipulated by NIHR. For further details, see the NIHR Academy website.

Details of qualifying courses at The University of Manchester can be found in our research training programme.

Research training programme

Academic Clinical Fellows (ACFs) are able to claim up to £4,500 as a contribution towards course fees as part of their research training programme, provided the course covers the generic research training stipulated by NIHR.

Qualifying courses

A list of courses at The University of Manchester which meet the NIHR criteria can be found below.

Research master’s courses

Currently approved programmes at Manchester that meet the NIHR criteria include:

For any queries regarding the application process, please contact the Faculty’s Postgraduate Admissions Team.

Tel: +44 (0)161 543 4695

Please note that Medical Education programmes cannot be funded.

Short courses

There are also a number of short courses and statistics resources available through the University.

These can only be funded if you are not taking an MRes. Please see the links below for further information:

If you are interested in one of these courses, or would like another programme to be approved, this must be done in advance by contacting the ICAT Administrator in the first instance.



We also run a series of workshops facilitated by Faculty Development.

It is compulsory that each of the subjects in these sessions is covered as they form part of the specified NIHR academic training programme.

You should be able to attend during both research and clinical attachments by booking formal study leave.

If you can provide evidence that a specific subject has been met elsewhere, this will be satisfactory.

For a list of current workshops on offer please see the News and events page.



There is individual support available to you in identifying projects, conducting research and identifying appropriate training and opportunities for career development.

A mentoring scheme is available to all ACFs. Mentors who contribute to this scheme have a wealth of experience and expertise in different backgrounds and are all dedicated to supporting your professional development.

If you wish to have a mentor from outside of the University, we strongly recommend the Academy of Medical Sciences’ Scheme.

ACF Advisor

Where appropriate, in addition to support through your Academic Programme Lead and Academic Supervisor, having an academic advisor can provide further support with your training and career development. Your advisor is usually someone outside of the supervisory team who can offer independent advice and guidance as well as ensuring you remain on track throughout your programme.