PhD trained veterinary specialists face an upward struggle to advance their research careers as there are limited schemes to support them while in training, such as clinical lectureships or similar types of research fellowships.
Recently, the issue has been discussed at an Academy dinner and later, at a meeting organised by the Veterinary Schools Council. Both discussions highlighted the need for a clearer career structure and appropriate incentives for the veterinarian clinician researchers if we want to retain and increase the numbers of such specialists in the future.
In an effort to raise awareness of research and to increase the opportunities available to clinical veterinary researchers, the Academy of Medical Sciences is opening two of its existing schemes to veterinarian trainees – INSPIRE and Starter Grants for Clinical Lecturers.
INSPIRE is a UK-wide initiative that aims to engage undergraduates in medicine, dentistry and now veterinarian sciences with research. The core element of INSPIRE is a small grant that universities can apply for that allows them to fund activities to engage students with research. These have included conferences, summer studentships, research tasters and databases to share information and resources.
In the latest round, in 2015, Bristol veterinary school applied and was awarded a grant.
We are now launching a new round of small grants in March 2016 that will be open to all veterinary schools in the UK. Schools can apply for a maximum of £10,000 and cover a period of 1 year. The deadline for applications is May 2016, successful applicants will be notified in June 2016. More details will shortly be available at our INSPIRE webpage.
Starter Grants for Clinical Lecturers
The Academy’s Starter Grant scheme offers Clinical Lecturers in human medicine funding of up to £30,000 to cover the cost of research consumables, over 1-2 years. The grants support the researcher to gather data to strengthen their bids for longer-term fellowships and funding.
The Academy is delighted to extend this scheme to veterinarian researchers. To be eligible for this scheme, researchers must be either a:
a) Veterinary Specialist in Training (Resident/Senior Clinical Training Scholar) within an approved Specialist Training Programme or,
b) Veterinary Clinician or Veterinary Pathologist with Veterinary Specialist Board qualification or eligibility and within the 3 year (probationary) period of their first University appointment.
All candidates must hold a clinical contract; have a medical, dental or veterinary undergraduate degree; be research-active; be registered with the General Medical Council, General Dental Council or Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons; hold a PhD; and have secured and protected research time throughout the proposed project.
The current round is now open for applications, with a deadline on 4 March 2016. More information and application forms can be downloaded from the Academy’s Starter Grant page – please note there are separate application forms for clinicians in human medicine, and for veterinarians.