Supporting clinical academic trainees through COVID-19 disruption

The Academy endeavours to be as flexible as possible to support all our researchers around the challenges of COVID-19.

We are a member of the cross-stakeholder Clinical Academic Training Forum (CATF) which developed guidance and principles back in May to support and progress the careers of trainee clinical academics. Now, in light of the second wave of Covid-19 and similar future disruption, we have contributed to a revised set of principles and practical actions to support clinical academic trainees.

5 key principles the document sets out include:

  • A considered and co-ordinated approach to managing any potential disruption to research and clinical training needs due to Coronavirus or a similar situation
  • Due consideration for issues of equality, diversity and inclusion, specifically health, shielding, caring responsibilities or potential gender disadvantages as relevant
  • Collaboration across funders, working together from a very early stage to provide clear and consistent communications to the community
  • Provision of clear host support and mentorship and infrastructure so trainees can continue along the career pathway with minimum possible interruption
  • A framework of maximum flexibility for periods of academic/clinical training, where possible


The Academy’s Vice President (clinical), Professor Paul Stewart FMedSci, added:

 “COVID-19 has already caused – and will continue to cause – immense disruption to our research community, not least clinical academic trainees, who have contributed extraordinary efforts to the pandemic response. This is as much the case for those who returned to support frontline clinical duties as those who have been met with other challenges, such as new or increased caring responsibilities during this time, and has disrupted research plans and career progression widely.  

Whilst the efforts of these individuals have been vital in tackling this enormous health challenge, it is equally critical - now more so than ever - to support this group in continuing to develop their careers, and contributing to the ground-breaking research that this so important for our NHS and patient-outcomes in the UK and worldwide.

I welcome the refreshed guidelines and principles document, particularly the call for consistent communications, mentorship and consideration of equality, diversity and inclusion in supporting trainees during this time.  

As we face a second wave of COVID-19, the sector must show maximum flexibility and coordinate well in how it supports trainees to balance clinical duties, academic activity, and personal circumstances in a way that reflects different circumstances across the country and ensures that individuals in this invaluable group remains research active and without disadvantage.

The Academy will continue to champion the needs of clinical academic trainees and I want them to know that they have our full and continued support.”

See further information and resources on how the Academy is supporting the research community via our dedicated COVID-19 careers support space, also accessible below. 

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Clinical Academics in Training Annual Conference 2023

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