Research and Academic Careers


NHSE and its partner organisations in KSS provide a range of opportunities for doctors, dentists, and other healthcare professionals to engage in research.

Professor Gordon Ferns, Associate Dean for academic training, was appointed in 2017. He works closely with colleagues in the KSS NHSE Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education team and KSS Trusts, to deliver the opportunities for academic training across KSS. He co-chairs the Academic Steering Group that oversees key aspects of the academic training programme, including recruitment and appointments, training days, ARCP organisation, trainee-related issues, and future academic plans. To find out more about Professor Gordon Ferns, visit the meet the senior leadership team webpage.

The Steering Group liaises closely with the KSS Foundation School that oversees the management of the specialist foundation programme (SPF) posts. Currently, there are 12 posts based at Brighton Sussex Medical School (BSMS), 3 at Kent and Medway Medical School (KMMS) and 3 at the University of Surrey.

Academic and Clinical Fellows and Academic Clinical Lecturer posts are funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). 6 posts are currently held by BSMS and 3 by KMMS. Drs Jessica Eccles and Khalid Ali are the Programme Directors for BSMS and Professor Sukhi Shergill is the Programme Director for KMMS.

The importance of academic training in clinical careers

Doctors and other clinicians can expect to be engaged in research at various levels, throughout their careers whether or not they are clinical academics. Academic training provides the skills to critically appraise the literature, design high-quality research studies for the benefit of patients and the wider health system, and to communicate the results of research effectively, to support patients in making informed decisions about their care.

The “Outcomes for Graduates” document published by the GMC lays out what is expected of medical graduates by the end of their undergraduate training. For further information, visit the GMC website.

Opportunities along the academic pathway

Specialist Foundation training provides trainees with an opportunity to spend some dedicated academic time during the second year of their Foundation training. For further information, visit the KSS SFP web page.

The NIHR offers three awards through the Integrated Academic Training (IAT) Programme specifically for doctors and dentists. For further information, please visit the NIHR IAT webpage.

NHSE and the NIHR, also provide research training awards for other healthcare professionals, who wish to develop their careers that combine clinical research and research leadership with continued clinical practice and professional development. For further information, visit the Integrated Clinical Academic Programme webpage.  

Brighton and Sussex Medical School

Research fields

BSMS has a number of strong, internationally recognised research groups in several fields, which include:

– Infectious diseases and global health

– Neuromuscular biology and imaging

– Rheumatology

– Hepatology

– Elderly care and stroke medicine

– Paediatrics

– Haematology

– Primary care

– Public health.

For further information, please visit BSMS research webpage.

Academic Clinical Fellows (ACF)

Appointees to the BSMS ACF programme are given dedicated time and space to develop an area of research in line with the chosen group’s current portfolio.

The academic and clinical supervisors will provide joint mentoring and appraisal to ensure a balanced development of clinical and research skills during the appointment.

To find out more, visit BSMS Clinical Academic webpage.

MRes, PGCert in Medical Research

In addition, BSMS offer each of the candidates the opportunity to achieve a master’s level qualification through the Department of Medical Education. For further information, visit the Medical Research course webpage.