Clinical academia

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Medical clinical academics are doctors who spend part of their time treating patients in the National Health Service and part of their time undertaking research and educating the next generation of doctors.  

Each aspect of their role improves the others, resulting in cutting-edge clinical work, innovations to improve patient care and ensuring the supply of high-quality future doctors. This makes clinical academics vital to the development of the National Health Service.

Clinical academics make up around five percent of the medical consultant workforce. They are university employees with honorary contracts with a general practice surgery or hospital Trust. The Medical Schools Council is committed to promoting clinical academic careers to both young doctors and the wider public.

The Medical Schools Council is committed to promoting and improving the role of the clinical academic. Some aspects of this are as follows.

Clinical academic survey

The Medical Clinical Academic Survey is a way for institutions such as universities, hospitals and research funders to understand the current pool of clinical academics. With this information they can better plan for the future of clinical academia, ensuring that it continues to benefit patient care.

Historically this information was not collected in a coordinated way, so recognising shortfalls in particular specialities was difficult. The first survey was undertaken in 2000 and the Medical Schools Council assumed responsibility for the survey in 2003, after which it has been undertaken annually. Over the same period, the Dental Schools Council has conducted a survey into the numbers of dental clinical academics.

Since 2018, the data has taken the form of an interactive tool which includes both the latest and all historical data. To learn more, see the press release.

Previous versions of the survey can be found on our publications section.

Clinical academic jobs

Since 2008 the Medical Schools Council has been operating an online service for the posting of clinical academic jobs.

The service is free to use for member medical schools. Each medical school has an assigned contact who is able to post jobs directly through their medical school’s account on this website. If you are looking to post a clinical academic job for or on behalf of a medical school and do not have the medical school’s login details, contact admin@medchools.ac.uk.  

Principles and obligations

The Medical Schools Council, along with a number of stakeholders from the sector, has developed a principles and obligations document on UK clinical academic training in medicine and dentistry. Read the document and its FAQs here