Answers to frequently asked questions about postgraduate academic and research training in O&G.
Research is the most exciting, enjoyable and rewarding aspect of medical practice. It brings new ideas into practice, develops new concepts for the treatments of the future and improves the health and wellbeing of patients. Identifying novel disease processes and introducing new procedures or drugs into clinical practice is an integral part of medicine.
Also, teaching doctors, medical students and other healthcare professionals is a key element in the pursuit of excellence in health care.
Academic medicine allows you to combine research, teaching and clinical work in the exciting and demanding specialty of O&G.
You should approach the head of the academic unit in your nearest teaching hospital.
There are broadly three types of research experience:
- You can obtain research training leading to a higher degree, such as a PhD or MD, before entering ST1; more information is available from the Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust or Wellbeing of Women
- You can undertake research during ST training; more information is available from the Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust or Wellbeing of Women
- You can apply for a Clinician Scientist Fellowship, which will provide experience up to the consultant grade; more information is available from the Department of Health or the Medical Research Council
There are various schemes available to support individuals undertaking research. Within UK O&G training, you can apply for the following:
Significant flexibility is needed when planning a research career, but early exposure to research experience is probably the best approach. If you find that you don’t enjoy research, you can then quickly re-focus on clinical work.
If you wish to pursue a career in academic medicine, you’re advised to undertake two periods of research experience:
- The first period of research training, leading to a PhD or MD, can be undertaken before entering ST1 or after completing the Part 1 MRCOG, having completed 2-3 years at ST grade
- The second period of research training can be undertaken to complete ST training, either with the award of a Clinician Scientist Fellowship or on appointment to a clinical lectureship
New Clinician Scientist Fellowships are available to individuals who’ve completed 3–4 years of specialty training. These are national fellowships and are highly competitive. Fellowships allow you to complete specialty training and obtain CCT. To be eligible, you’re normally expected to have obtained a PhD or MD.