IAT Allocation Process
The NIHR supports clinical academic training for medicine through the Integrated Academic Training (IAT) Programme. The NIHR funds approximately 250 Academic Clinical Fellowships (ACFs) and 100 Clinical Lectureships (CLs) each year; these posts are allocated annually to tripartite partnerships comprising medical schools (and their partner universities), postgraduate deanery functions within the Local Offices of Health Education England (HEE), and their partner NHS organisations. The aim of these posts is to provide research experience for academically gifted medical trainees, while allowing them to continue their clinical training. The NIHR ACF and CL posts are managed by the NIHR Trainees Coordinating Centre (NIHR TCC) on behalf of the Department of Health.
From 2018 onwards, changes to the allocations have been made to provide a significant opportunity for innovative thinking in training development and delivery by the partnerships; the NIHR has reduced the number of posts allocated by formula (from 80% of the total to 60% of the total), but invited partnerships to bid for a greater number of posts via competition. This will increase support for research in areas of strategic importance.
Significantly, NIHR now requires the medical schools within the IAT partnerships to demonstrate that they have achieved the Athena SWAN Silver Award to be eligible to host ACF and CL posts.
Allocations of IAT Posts
The IAT formula is used by DH to determine how approximately 60% of the total number of ACF and CL posts are distributed across medical schools in England. For further details on the formula allocation process, please see the link on the right.
The competition is used to allocate the remaining 40% of posts (up to 100 additional ACF and up to 40 CL places per annum) to eligible medical schools. Prior to 2018, the IAT competition has been used to target specialties that tend to lack support through the formula allocation process, and to target specialties identified as underperforming academically by the NIHR.
There are 66 GMC approved medical specialties and each can accommodate a broad range of research interests. Although NIHR can manage the specialty spread, it is difficult for NIHR to influence the research portfolio within IAT. For 2018, the Department of Health and NIHR identified areas of research that they wish to develop and partnerships were invited to propose posts only in specialties that support these areas.
The 2018 IAT competition has been based around research themes (rather than GMC specialties) identified by the Department of Health and NIHR as priority areas:
i. Platform Science (“-omics”) and Bioinformatics
ii. Therapeutics or Clinical Pharmacology
iii. Older People and Complex Health Needs
v. Medical Education
vi. Acute Care
ACFs and CLs subsequently appointed into these competition posts will be expected to develop a research programme in that theme area. Importantly, the themes, which are multi-disciplinary in nature, all cover a wide spread of potential clinical specialities and can be appointed in one of a number of such specialities. This revised model for competition posts has been designed to address the challenge of cross-disciplinarity, and represents a significant opportunity for innovative thinking by partnerships.
Allocations of dental NIHR ACF and CL posts are made to partnership organisations comprising dental schools, HEE Local Offices and NHS organisations/Trusts. Each partnership is offered 2 ACFs and 1 CL per year.