Edinburgh Clinical Academic Track (ECAT)

About ECAT

Background to Edinburgh's Wellcome Clinical PhD programme

ECAT (Edinburgh Clinical Academic Track) offers integrated academic training for medical and veterinary clinicians. 

The programme was established in 2008 following the award of one of the first Wellcome Clinical PhD programmes.  Combining the clinical PhD programme with academic posts, supported by the University of Edinburgh and NHS Education Scotland (NES), has enabled us to provide a run-through clinical academic training programme that gives you flexibility, security and mentorship whatever your clinical discipline. The diagram below shows the diversity of clinical disciplines.

Pie chart showing the variety of medical specialties amongst ECAT fellows
This diagram shows ECAT fellows' diverse specialties - PDF version available at the foot of the page

The majority of our appointees are ECAT Clinical Lecturers.  They typically enter the programme early in specialty training.  The programme consists of an introductory year in which you receive 100% accreditation for clinical training but also have dedicated academic time to explore the wealth of PhD opportunities in Edinburgh, identify  your supervisors and develop a high quality PhD proposal.  You then have 3 years of full time PhD training funded by a prestigious Wellcome Trust PhD fellowship.  This is followed by a guaranteed postdoctoral clinical lectureship which allows you to complete your clinical training but also sufficient academic time to maintain research momentum and to develop and apply for an Intermediate Fellowship.  Our Fellows have been highly successful and have undertaken excellent PhDs across the many multi-disciplinary research centres in Edinburgh.

More recently, we have offered ECAT PhD fellowships for those who are keen to undertake a PhD with us but, for whatever reason, do not initially wish to commit to undertaking all their clinical specialty training in Edinburgh.  PhD fellowships allow you 3 months’ time in Edinburgh to explore PhD opportunities and decide on your own PhD project, followed by a fully funded 3 year PhD

Trainees from outside Edinburgh can also have the opportunity to apply for a SCREDS clinical lectureship in their specialty.  This is available to trainees who have already been awarded a higher research degree (PhD or possibly MD) and who wish to establish themselves in academic training in Edinburgh. 

Read more about SCREDS clinical lectureships here.

We have also developed a track for veterinary clinician scientist trainees.

This diagram shows how ECAT fellows, by specialty, are widely spread across research centres
This diagram shows how ECAT fellows, by specialty, are widely spread across research centres - PDF version available at the foot of the page

Edinburgh is a superb city and an excellent place in which to undertake research training, with ever increasing diverse opportunities.  In REF 2014, Edinburgh was ranked in the top five UK medical schools for clinical medicine, first for veterinary medicine and third for neuroscience.  

A full list of research institutes and centres within the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine is available here.

Overall, we have a wealth of research expertise and experience available in a thriving institution. 

The diagram on the right shows the spread of specialties across research centres. 

You will benefit from being part of an ambitious and high quality cohort keen to progress a career within academic medicine.  On these pages you can learn more about the programmes on offer but you can also make enquiries directly to our Programme Administrator, Joanne Ness.