Edinburgh Clinical Academic Track (ECAT)

SE Scotland academic foundation programme

The SE Scotland academic foundation programme offers opportunities to work alongside clinical academics and scientists undertaking world-class research in Edinburgh.

The South East (SE) Scotland Academic Foundation Programme

The SE Scotland programme is for those who are considering a career in academic medicine. Our scheme is focused on supporting individuals who wish to pursue a career in research and we do not provide specific attachments in teaching/medical education/leadership.

Details of current Academic Foundation programmes can be found here.

Why the SE Scotland FY-A programme?

The SE Scotland programme offers opportunities to work alongside clinical academics and scientists undertaking world-class research in Edinburgh. We provide opportunities to undertake research projects and be mentored by experienced clinical academics in addition to clinical training. We recognise that some FY-As prefer six clinical placements with the opportunity to develop research alongside clinical work while others wish to have dedicated research time, and we therefore offer rotations with and without an academic block. 

How does it work?

FY1: three clinical placements in SE Scotland including at least one post in Edinburgh and at least one in a district general hospital in Borders General, St.John’s Hospital Livingston or Victoria Hospital Kirkcaldy. While the focus of FY1 is on obtaining a grounding in clinical medicine, FY-As will be allocated mentors at the start of FY1, who will assist with developing projects and provide career advice.

FY2: The rotations are individually constructed by the Foundation Programme Director, taking account of the preferences and career intentions of FY-As. There is a substantial breadth of available speciality placements for FY2 and all are located in the Edinburgh teaching hospitals.

There are rotations with and without a dedicated research block providing parallel routes for doing research during FY2

a) Six posts comprising 2 clinical placements and 1 full time research block. FY-As interested in undertaking a research block will need to prepare a competitive application during the first rotation of FY1, identifying a supervisor and a project. Research in most specialties can be undertaken, including academic primary care. FY-As will need to show satisfactory clinical progression before undertaking these blocks. During the research block the FY-A will undertake 50% on-call duties in Medicine of the Elderly allowing them to maintain clinical skills and develop their portfolio. As typically more than 6 of the FY-As wish to undertake a research block, the blocks are awarded following a competitive written application and interview process. This provides useful experience for subsequent applications for research fellowships.

b) Twelve posts comprising 3 clinical placements, all within academic units in Edinburgh. Those who choose not to undertake a research block, or who are unsuccessful can take 0.5 days per week (or equivalent) for research for the whole year. This may be more suitable for those wanting to do a data driven or longitudinal epidemiological project.

Academic Days

In line with all other FY programmes, there is no study leave in FY1. For both FY2 streams, 4 days in each clinical post will be approved as Academic Foundation Personal Study Days.

University Access

The FY-A programme allows you access to University of Edinburgh library and electronic resources, allowing easy access to most clinical/biomedical science journals.


We aim to make our support for your academic development as personalised as possible. At the start of year 1 you will be assigned a mentor following discussions with you. Our mentors have an extremely strong academic track record and are chosen because they are engaged in supporting aspiring clinical academics. Although we will try to ensure that mentors will be in your area of interest there may be a small number of specialties in which we may not be able to identify an academic mentor. We advise that you ensure that the research being undertaken in Edinburgh fits with your interests before applying (www.ed.ac.uk). Additionally you are welcome to contact Dr Sarah Stock (see below) if you wish to discuss whether mentoring and research opportunities are available in your chosen subject.

If I am not successful?

The FY-A programme is heavily oversubscribed. Applicants with foundation rotations in SE Scotland who were not successful in their application to the FY-A programme but who remain interested in a clinical academic career can request a meeting to discuss mentoring and academic development opportunities in S.E.Scotland.

Further information

Further information on the South East Academic Foundation Programme can be obtained from the Academic (S7) Foundation Programme Directors, Dr Bryan Conway and Dr Sarah StockPrevious and current FY-A are also happy to speak to prospective applicants – for information please contact Bryan or Sarah.

Recent experiences of being an Academic F2

David Henshall 2019 – 2021 (currently undertaking FY3 in Kent) Academic Foundation in SE Scotland provides an excellent opportunity to launch an academic career. From the outset, I received helpful advice from the Programme Directors. Drafting and presenting a research proposal for selection to a 4-month academic block provides experience of the competitive nature of funding applications. The designated academic time, funding received for courses, and general supervision have helped me develop skills in bioinformatics, handling big data and clinical disease codes. I have enjoyed well-rounded clinical training and through the wide choice of Edinburgh-based FY2 jobs, I have been able to confirm a strong interest in Renal Medicine. These academic and clinical experiences have left me enthused to pursue academic medicine further.

Tom Jovic 2014-2016 (currently Academic Clinical Lecturer in Plastic Surgery on Wales Clinical Academic Track scheme) The academic foundation programme in Edinburgh is a fantastic opportunity. The programme structure, support and opportunities available in Edinburgh allow you to truly develop as a clinician, an educator and a researcher. Clinically, having an element of choice in your FY2 rotations allows you to explore specialties of interest to your future career plus, undertaking an array of medical and surgical jobs throughout the 2 years has enforced a breadth of clinical knowledge and transferable practical skills that have proven very helpful in preparing for membership exams. Academically, Edinburgh is incredibly well supported. You are assigned a mentor from an early stage in FY1 in a specialty of your choice. My mentor introduced me to academics and clinicians in the field, got me involved in research projects and operating lists and provided career guidance and advice throughout my foundation years. This is a true strength of the programme. A foundation in Edinburgh does not just form a foundation for clinical skills, it also acts as a platform for developing as a researcher and a clinical teacher. I wholeheartedly recommend an AFP here, and thanks to the support, skills and enthusiasm for academia that the programme instilled, I have been able to successfully pursue a career in Academic Plastic Surgery.

Jac Williams (2017-2019)

The Edinburgh Academic Foundation Programme has allowed me the opportunity to broaden and build on my existing research experience. By discussing my research interests and academic goals with programme directors, I was supported to identify and connect with mentors within my field of interest. Being offered the opportunity to apply for a research post was a really valuable learning experience. The application process for the research post was well organised and I found that writing a research proposal and then being interviewed by a panel of researchers helped me develop skills that will prepare me for the rigour of academic medicine. The subsequent research post that I was awarded has allowed me to work closely with international experts and develop new research skills.