University of Bristol and Severn Foundation School

Why Severn?

The University of Bristol offers world-class research opportunities, linked to training in a number of excellent clinical teams. The range of programmes and the quality of research teams make the Severn Academic Foundation Programmes (AFPs) stand out.  This is recognised by the testimonials from our current and past trainees and also indicated by the degree of competition to secure these posts (6 - 10 applicants per post).

The Programmes

The Severn Foundation School and the University of Bristol offer 12 Academic Foundation Programmes (increasing to 15 for August 2015 F1 entry). Uniquely our research opportunities are unbundled from the clinical rotations allowing successful applicants to competitively select the most suitable combination of research area and clinical rotation.  There are a wide variety of research opportunities encompassing a range of academic subjects. Thus the AFPs in Severn offer a great opportunity for future academic clinicians to start their career and develop a good grounding in clinical research.

Currently the academic component of the job is in the second year (F2 year) which consists of:

  • A 4 month academic post
    • Based at the University of Bristol with a day release for service work
  • 2 x 4 month service posts
    • University Hospitals Bristol / North Bristol NHS Trust
    • Each with a day release for academic work

The training offered allows our AFP trainees to be competitive to obtain Academic Fellowship posts and similar. During the F2 year AFP doctors will have a four month protected block of time to undertake a research project (with 1 day clinical service commitments).  In order to maximise the benefit of this project time they will also have 1 day research time in the remaining 8 months of their clinical training to turn the research into outputs.

Research Areas and Leads

The posts are research orientated and details of the academic programmes can be found from the links below:

The Curriculum

In line with the syllabus outlined in the Rough Guide

  • Complete F2 competencies in 2 service blocks
    • Day release in service blocks for academic work
    • Day release back into service in academic block
  • Generic research methods course
    • Half day/week in block 1
  • Complete a piece of academic work - 4 months
    • Literature review
    • Practical project in lab
    • Data collection - survey, interviews, etc.
    • Write a paper
    • Presentation at academic meeting
  • Prepare an ACF application

Clinical Research Methods Course

Our taught programme is delivered by senior clinical academics and will include half-day sessions on:

  • Introductions to:
    • Epidemiology
    • Health Services Research
    • Statistics
  • Literature Searching and Critical Appraisal
  • Good Clinical Practice training & Ethical principles
  • Good Practice in Laboratory Research; Translational application
  • Writing a grant proposal.
  • Producing the first paper draft
  • Communicating with confidence
  • Presentation skills training
  • Designing clinical trials
  • Involving patients in research
  • Careers in Academic Medicine


  • Clinical supervisor / educational supervisor (Trust based)
  • Academic supervisor (University of Bristol)
  • Member of group of 12-15 F2 trainees
For all enquiries regarding the Academic programmes please contact:

Professor Tony Pickering, Director of Academic Foundation Programme or the individual programme leads

For details about the clinical rotations:

Dr Katherine Finucane (Director of Medical Education, North Bristol NHS Trust)

Dr Kieron Rooney (Director of Medical Education, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust)