Edinburgh Clinical Academic Track (ECAT)

About ECAT

Background to Edinburgh's Wellcome Trust Clinical PhD programme

Welcome to the ECAT (Edinburgh Clinical Academic Track) programme, the Edinburgh version of integrated academic training for medical and veterinary clinicians. 

The ECAT programme was established in 2008 following the award of one of the first Wellcome Trust Clinical PhD programmes.  Incorporating the clinical PhD programme together 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 - click on the link below to view a larger version.

Image showing the diversity of specialties recruited to the programme
This chart shows the diversity of recruits to the programme


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

We also have two CRUK clinical training fellowships available each year which can be undertaken as ECAT PhD fellowships. 

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.

Chart showing specialties across research centres
This chart shows where fellows (by specialty) do their research

Edinburgh is a superb city and an excellent place in which to undertake research training, with ever increasing diverse opportunities.  The University is ranked 12th in the world for clinical pre-clinical medicine and health in the Times Higher Education rankings in both 2015 and 2016.  In REF 2014 Edinburgh was ranked in the top 5 UK medical schools for clinical medicine, 1st for veterinary medicine and 3rd for neuroscience.  We have a number of major research centres including:

MRC Human Genetics Unit

Centre for Inflammation Research

MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine

MRC Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology

MRC Centre for Reproductive Health

Usher Institute

MRC Molecular Pathology node

Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology

CRUK Edinburgh Cancer Centre

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 - click on the link to view a larger version. 


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.