Academic Foundation Programme – the great success of Imperial Students

med studentsImperial’s final year medical students have achieved an outstanding result with 62 students attaining a place on the Academic Foundation Programme (AFP) for 2015/16. This is the second highest number of students from any UK Medical School and reflects the success of the strong academic focus of the Imperial College medical programme. This compares with 42 students getting an AFP in 2014/15, and 49 the year prior. Of the 62 students, 32 will be staying in London, 10 will go to Oxford, 2 to Cambridge, 10 to the Midlands and the others dispersed over the country.

The AFP offers the brightest and most academically able newly qualified doctors an opportunity to develop research, teaching, and leadership/management skills in addition to the competences outlined in the Foundation Programme Curriculum over a two year period. The AFP was established as a stream within the Foundation Programme with the aim to increase the opportunities available for the most junior doctors to gain access to research training alongside gaining their basic clinical competencies. About 6% (approximately 480 posts) of all Foundation Posts in the UK are AFP.

AFP trainees usually undertake a 4 month research placement in their second year, and many are successful in presenting at conferences and getting published.  Several doctors who complete the Academic Foundation Programme go onto secure Academic Clinical Fellowships and follow the academic pathway.

At Imperial, we have always encouraged our medical students to apply for the AFP. A key USP of Imperial students is their academic ability and we believe that the AFP offers an unparalleled opportunity to develop academic skills that would facilitate easier entry into the Integrated Academic Training Pathway.

Application to the AFP is very competitive and applicants are interviewed if shortlisted (unlike applicants to the standard Foundation Programme.) Imperial has taken the view that if a student is keen on an academic path then they need to start thinking early during their medical school career about how to be in a position to provide evidence of their experience in, and commitment to, research, leadership and/or medical education by the time they are applying in their final year.


Date for your diaries: Next Annual NW Thames Academic Foundation Symposium – Wednesday 8h July from 18.30 in the Drewe lecture theatre, Reynolds Building, Charing Cross Hospital.  

For more information about the Academic Foundation Programme please refer to the UKFPO website or contact Prof Liz Lightstone, Reader in Renal Medicine and Academic Director, NW Thames Foundation School.


Philipa Shallard
Foundation School/Undergraduate Services Manager
Faculty of Medicine

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