ACFs in General Practice - Frequently asked questions
What are the aims of the ACF programme?
- To provide individuals with training in research skills and experience of undertaking primary care research alongside clinical training in general practice.
- To help individuals identify opportunities for further research funding.
- To support individuals with applying for further research funding, including PhD funding.
How long is a GP ACF post?
Each GP ACF post is for four years on a full time basis. It is possible to extend this duration for individuals working less than full time.
What is the balance between the clinical and academic components of the GP ACF post?
For an individual working on a full time basis, the balance will be as follows:
- ST1 and ST2: 3 academic sessions and 17 clinical sessions per two week block of 20 sessions during general practice placement only.
- ST3: 60% clinical; 40% academic
- ST4: 40% clinical; 60% academic
This is pro rata for individuals working less than full time.
It is possible to be flexible about when an individual does their clinical and academic sessions, provided they agree exact arrangements with their clinical and academic supervisors. In some cases, it may be considered beneficial to arrange short blocks of clinical and academic time rather than undertaking both clinical and academic sessions each week.
How can I find out more about what being a GP ACF is like?
You can find out more about being a GP ACF by speaking with one of our current or recent ACFs. You will find the contact details of our current ACFs by clicking here.
You can also read more about being an ACF on the Oxford University Clinical Academic Graduate School (OUCAGS) website
Am I eligible to apply for a GP ACF post?
Click here to find out whether you are eligible to apply for a GP ACF post.
If you still have questions about your eligibility, you can contact the OUCAGS: firstname.lastname@example.org
How many posts are available for GP Academic Clinical Fellows (ACFs) each year?
On average, there are two posts available in our department each year. However, the exact number varies from year to year.
When does the application round open each year?
The application round usually opens in November each year for entry at ST1. Academic interviews usually take place in January or February each year. You will find exact dates, along with details of how to apply and link to the application form at the National GP recruitment website
Are there any posts available for entry at ST3 level?
The NIHR SPCR has a national competition advertised each autumn for an ST3 post, with the best candidates in the national competition able to choose their training site within any of the School member departments. In any single year it is possible though not probable that this will result in an ST3 post in Oxford.
What opportunities are available if I have completed by GP training and already have a PhD?
You may wish to consider applying for one of our Academic Clinical Lecturer positions. For further information, please contact our Head of HR, Clare Wickings.
Which clinical specialities are included in the GP ACF rotation?
The clinical placements included in the GP ACF rotation will be based within the Oxford Specialty Training Programme and will include 18 months of approved hospital posts. For further details, please contact Barbara Gow (GP School Manager) or see the Oxford GP VTS website: https://oxfordvts.wordpress.com
When are GP ACFs expected to sit their Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) and Clinical Skills Assessment (CSA)?
These assessments are usually undertaken during ST3 or ST4. ACFs will decide when they wish to take these exams with input from their educational supervisors and, if appropriate, their programme directors and/or academic supervisors.
How can I find out more about potential research projects which can be undertaken during an ACF post?
You can find out more about potential research projects by contacting the leads of our departmental research groups:
- Health behaviours: Professor Paul Aveyard
- Obesity and weight loss: Professor Susan Jebb
- Infection and acute care: Professor Chris Butler
- Cardiovascular conditions: Professor Richard McManus
- Diabetes/metabolic conditions: Professor Andrew Farmer
- Patient experiences: Professor Sue Ziebland
- Research methods: Professor Rafael Perera
- Big data: Dr Clare Bankhead
- Evidence-based medicine: Professor Carl Heneghan
- Interdisciplinary research in health sciences: Professor Trish Greenhalgh
Is it possible to develop my own research idea?
It is possible to develop your own research idea, provided we have sufficient expertise within our department to support you with this. If you would like to discuss this further, please get in touch with the relevant research group lead, or with the department's ACF lead, Dr Oliver van Hecke.
Do I need to have previous research experience in order to apply for an ACF post?
You do not need to have previous research experience in order to apply for an ACF post. GP ACF posts are training posts, during which individuals will have excellent opportunities to develop a range of methodological skills.
You may find it helpful to think about possible research questions or projects which you would be interested in pursuing, but it is not essential to have committed to a particular project or supervisor before applying.
What academic training opportunities are available to GP ACFs?
All GP ACFs undertake the Postgraduate Diploma in Health Research (PGDip). This provides training in critical appraisal skills, research methods and implementation of research findings in health care settings.
GP ACFs also have the opportunity to undertake courses of specific relevance to the projects they are undertaking and to present their work at regional and national conferences. Primary academic supervisors will be instrumental in helping GP ACFs identify suitable opportunities.
How are GP ACFs supported in the academic component of their post?
Each GP ACF will be assigned a primary academic supervisor, who will provide them with day-to-day support regarding issues which relate to him or her as an individual during the academic component of their post. These will include issues relating to performance, training needs, career development, and, if relevant, working less than full time. The primary academic supervisor will also be the first point of contact for the GP School for providing progress updates and dealing with any other matters relating specifically to their ACF.
You do not need to have identified a primary academic supervisor before applying for a GP ACF post. The departmental GP ACF lead will help facilitate allocation of primary academic supervisors to ACFs once they begin their posts.
The Oxford University Clinical Academic Graduate School (OUCAGS) also offers training opportunities and support with career progression for ACFs and provides a thriving and stimulating community environment for clinical academics across all specialties.