NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowships

Background Information

NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowships are specialty training posts that incorporate academic training.  NIHR Academic Clinical Fellows (ACFs) spend 75% of their time undertaking specialist clinical training and 25% undertaking research or educationalist training.

NIHR ACF posts are only available to medically qualified candidates and are aimed at those who, at the early stages of their specialty training, show outstanding potential for a career in academic medicine or dentistry. The duration of an ACF is for a maximum of 3 years (4 years for GPs). During this time, alongside clinical training, ACFs will be able to develop their academic skills and be supported in preparing an application for a Research Training Fellowship (to undertake a higher research degree) or an application for a place on an educational programme (leading to a higher degree). Success in these applications is defined as the end point of an ACF.

NIHR TCC does not see immediate success of obtaining a PhD (or post-doctoral) fellowship as the only successful endpoint to an NIHR ACF. Trainees may need to continue in clinical training before applying for, or taking up such a training fellowship, as befits their personal situation at that time. The later uptake of a Fellowship is still measured as a successful outcome.

In a similar way to medical Integrated Academic Training, dental IAT includes NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowships.  As with the medical schemes, trainees are expected to spend 25% of their time in research or educationalist training.

The clinical training pathways for dentistry and the linkages between dental schools and hospitals differ from those in medical training to an extent that justifies some differences of approach for dental NIHR ACFs.

A number of frequently asked questions and answers have been prepared and are available by clicking on the button below.



The process of recruitment to NIHR ACFs is managed on behalf of NIHR by Local Education Training Boards (LETBs), which have oversight of postgraduate medical and dental deaneries.  Potential applicants should contact the relevant LETB for further information on how to apply for these posts.  

2016 NIHR ACF second round recruitment is now open (from 9th February 2016) and a list of posts is available to download from the links opposite. 

The recruitment documentation pack for 2016 (including recruitment FAQs as Appendix 1) is available to download via the link opposite and includes information on the process for medical NIHR ACF applicants attending clinical interviews/assessments, if they don't already hold an NTN/DRN. 

The Oriel System will be used to co-ordinate offers for medical NIHR ACF posts and a link is available opposite.

The 2016 dental NIHR ACF recruitment round is now open (from 1st March 2016)Take up of posts will start from 1st April 2016 and successful applicants must be in post before 31st March 2017.

Dental schools are free to advertise dental ACF posts in any GDC approved specialty or in General Dental Practice. Prospective applicants should note that they must contact the relevant LETB in the first instance for further information on post availability and the recruitment process.  This includes dates for when the posts will be advertised and the associated closing dates.

Applicants are recommended to read the NIHR Dental ACF recruitment pack for 2016 as well as any relevant information and guidance provided by individual LETBs. You can also view the list of available NIHR Dental ACF posts for 2016 and relevant dental contacts 

If you require any further information for NIHR Medical or Dental ACF posts, please contact


Medical - Closed
The window for deferral requests for medical NIHR ACF posts closed at 5:00pm on Tuesday 30 August 2016. 


The window for deferral requests for dental NIHR ACF posts has now closed (1st - 15th October 2015).  All partnerships were e-mailed with the relevant information and form to complete.  All partnerships will be e-mailed with the result of their request in due course.


NIHR Clinical Academic Careers

Deborah Moore, a Dentist and NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow tells of her own experiences in this video (filmed at the 2015 Trainee Meeting)