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Dr Daniel Burrage completed an Academic Clinical Fellowship in Clinical Pharmacology at St George's.

Why did you apply for an academic clinical fellowship at St George's?

"I chose to do an ACF because I wanted to see whether I would enjoy a clinical academic career and this was a great opportunity to get dedicated time to do research. I specifically applied to St George's because I had heard some really good feedback from a current ACF at that time and because I was keen to live and work in London.

"St George's was particularly appealing because it has nearly all medical specialties on a single site. The breadth of research opportunities reflects this too. The medical school is also on the same site, which makes being a clinical academic very convenient! This is genuinely helpful when, as an ACF, you have six months less time to do your core training; the flexibility of the ACF time means it's not difficult to do any extra clinics or procedures you might need whilst also doing your research.

"Being based in London was also particularly appealing for me, but has benefits in terms of research too, with potential to network with other universities such as Imperial, King’s and UCL."

Dr Daniel Burrage working with a patient. Dr Daniel Burrage completed an Academic Clinical Fellowship in Clinical Pharmacology at St George's.

What experience did you have before applying for an ACF?

"I had done an intercalated BSc during my medical degree and had done well in medical school exams which helped to get me points on my application. Whilst I didn’t consider myself very academic, I made the most of opportunities in my regular foundation training programme to do an audit which I presented as a poster at an international conference. I published a case report and got involved in some research involving a review of a patient database which was presented a conference. I think all these things helped at interview."

What did you do during your ACF at St George’s?

"I was lucky to be given a choice of potential supervisors and projects when I first started. I chose to do a clinical project with the clinical pharmacology team, but there were options too for lab-based projects or systematic reviews.

"My research time was divided into three blocks of three months, spread over three years. I wrote a review article and analysed data from an existing project which I was able to present at an international conference. The ACF also created lots of other opportunities for me, including getting involved in teaching and completing a PGCert in medical education, which I later developed into an MSc through the Royal College of Physicians. I completed an audit and became a member of the hospital Drugs and Therapeutics Committee. I was even able to contribute to writing two textbooks."

Having completed the fellowship, what did you do next?

"On completing my ACF, I took a year out of the programme to train in stroke medicine, and then returned to St George's with my original ACF supervisor to set up my PhD and apply for funding. I was successful in applying for an NIHR doctoral research fellowship, which funded my PhD over the following three years. I think having done the ACF was a significant factor in being awarded the doctoral fellowship as it showed I was able to undertake research and it is also an opportunity to develop pilot data for a PhD proposal which I think awarding panels value. I’m now back in training, entering my final year before completion of training."

What would your advice be for anyone considering applying for an ACF at St George's?

"In short, go for it! My main piece of advice is not to be put off if you don’t feel you have the 'right CV'. Showing you’ve made the most of opportunities and have a genuine interest in the research is what I found most important.

"Also, don’t be afraid to contact academics at St George's ahead of your application and interview to find out more about the available opportunities. Planning ahead demonstrates genuine interest and I think is key to getting the most out of the ACF."

 

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