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.

NIHR ACFs FAQs       


The process of recruitment to NIHR ACFs is managed on behalf of NIHR by Health Education England (HEE) local offices, which have oversight of postgraduate medical and dental deaneries.  Potential applicants should contact the relevant HEE local office for further information on how to apply for these posts.  


The 2018 NIHR ACF Guidance for Recruitment and Appointment (including recruitment FAQs) has been updated as of 20th September 2017 and a new version is now available to download.  It includes information on the process for medical NIHR ACF applicants attending clinical interviews/assessments, if they don't already hold an NTN/DRN.
Please note that
there will be a change in timings process for how NIHR ACF posts are recruited to in Cardio-thoracic surgery and general practice. 
For the 2018 academic recruitment round NIHR ACF posts in both specialties will now be advertised, recruited to and appointed in line with all other NIHR ACF posts in other GMC specialties not as part of the National recruitment process as in previous years.
2018 NIHR ACF Guidance for Recruitment & Appointment List of 2018 Medical NIHR ACF Posts

The Oriel System will be used to co-ordinate offers for medical NIHR ACF posts. 

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2018 Dental ACF recruitment opened on Monday 6th November 2017.

NIHR Dental ACF Recruitment Information Pack  2018 NIHR Dental ACF & CL Posts

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.

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 on Wednesday 30th August 2017. 


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)