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 wish to pursue 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. Applications are welcomed from individuals with an interest in any speciality, including academic primary care.

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 academic development opportunities and mentoring combined with clinical confidence gained through the foundation curriculum. 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.

FY2: The rotations are individually constructed by the Foundation Programme Director, taking account of the preferences of FY-As, while ensuring a broad range of different specialties. There is a substantial breadth of available speciality placements for FY2.

There are rotations with and without a dedicated research block

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. The Academic Director for SE Scotland, Dr Mandy Drake, can work with you to identify supervisors and projects as soon as you are appointed. Note that the academic block is a new feature of the scheme and will be available for those commencing the FY scheme from autumn 2017 onwards. FY-As will need to show satisfactory clinical progression before undertaking these blocks.

b) Nine posts comprising 3 clinical placements, all within academic units in Edinburgh

Academic Days

For both FY2 streams, 4 days per block will be approved as Academic Foundation Personal Study Days. These days may be supplemented by additional Academic Meeting days during FY2.

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. We hope that this will be in your area of interest however although Edinburgh is host to excellent research in most disciplines there may be a small number in which we may not be able to identify an academic mentor specifically in your specialty of interest. Our mentors have an extremely strong academic track record and are chosen because they are interested in supporting aspiring clinical academics. Please contact Dr Mandy Drake (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 can request a meeting to discuss mentoring and academic development opportunities.

Further information

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

Recent experiences of being an Academic F2

Clark Russell 2013-2015 (recently appointed to the Edinburgh Clinical Academic Track) Through mentorship from clinical academics matched to my field of interest (infection) I was supported in establishing my own research projects, as well as having the opportunity to contribute to larger ongoing studies. This culminated in international and national presentations, as well as research publications.  Overall, the positive research atmosphere in which the academic foundation scheme in Edinburgh is placed has strongly contributed to my enthusiasm for pursuing a career in academic medicine.

View Clark's research publications here.

Ian Young 2013-2015(currently ACCS anaesthetics) Academic foundation training in Edinburgh has been enjoyable and rewarding. Professor Tim Walsh, as my mentor, has helped me begin planning a route into academic anaesthesia and critical care. FY-A provided me the right job in the right department to generate a meaningful project. FY-A has provided me with excellent clinical attachments, career direction, three publications, and an ongoing body of work to take on to the next stage of training.

Tom Jovic 2014-2016 (recently appointed to Wales Clinical Academic Track) 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. Furthermore, dedicated academic days are provided in which there is teaching on effective literature searching, writing systematic reviews, undertaking meta-analyses and an array of lectures from inspiring clinical academics in a number of fields. These sessions have enabled me to lead a number of systematic reviews as a foundation doctor and core trainee but also provided great interview preparation. 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.