Specialised Foundation Programme

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Specialised Foundation Programme

The Specialised Foundation Programme (previously known as Academic Foundation Programme) provides an opportunity to engage in the workplace training offered by the regular Foundation Programme while also gaining experience in academic, teaching and leadership work. The main difference is the potential to pursue a research project.

The areas of academic work which can be engaged in differ between the foundation schools. In balancing their roles, those on the Specialised Foundation Programme have more responsibility for managing their own time.

It is not necessary to enter academia after the Specialised Foundation Programme, nor is it necessary to take the Specialised Foundation Programme in order to enter academia. Equally, it is not necessary to have taken an intercalated medical degree in order to access the Specialised Foundation Programme. Doctors may of course seek different things at different points in their training, so the routes are flexible.

After the Specialised Foundation Programme, doctors usually enter the training pathways of the National Institute for Health Research while continuing to work in both clinical and academic roles.

The Specialised Foundation Programme is open to those applying from all four nations of the UK. The subsequent elements of the clinical academic training pathways will vary depending on whether you are based in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Specialised Foundation Programme (SF2)

The academic element within SF2 placements in Northern Ireland are offered by Queen’s University Belfast (QUB). This placement is designed to develop knowledge, skills and aptitudes for academic medicine and to foster interest in a long-term clinical academic career. These posts provide the trainee with insights into clinical academic medicine through regular interactions with the academic clinical supervisors, scientific staff and postgraduate research students. 

More information is available at the Queen’s University Belfast website.

More information on clinical academic careers in Northern Ireland can be found on the Queen’s University Belfast website and through NIMDTA.

Postgraduate training - region specific advice

Pathways across the UK can vary so you should visit the following pages for region specific advice.

Access the SFP

Access the SFP, led by academics at the University of Bristol, is a comprehensive guide to the application process to the SFP.

In addition to this, Access the SFP is running a webinar series covering the application process. For webinar updates visit the Access the SFP Facebook page.

Access the SFP Webinar 1: Introduction to the SFP