UCL Health


Clinical Research Training Fellowships

The ACO is proud to support Clinical Research Training Fellows (CRTFs) at UCL with career development guidance and training programmes.

IAT Pathway

UCL has over a hundred CRTFs at any one time who come from a wide variety of backgrounds including doctors, nurses, midwives and allied health professionals (NMAHPs).

What is a Clinical Research Training Fellowship (CRTF)?

  • CRTF is a type of grant held by a clinician typically for the purpose of undertaking Out of Programme Research (OOPR) leading to an award of a PhD.
  • CRTF registered for a PhD is undertaking an advanced research degree awarded on the basis of a thesis and oral examination.
  • To be awarded a PhD the candidate's thesis must represent a significant and substantial scholarly contribution and they must be able to convey their work in a lucid and scholarly manner.
  • A clinician doing a CRTF will have the opportunity to continue to develop their clinical skills by participating in clinics, on-call rotas and clinical meetings as appropriate to their clinical specialty.

The biggest providers of funds for CRTFs in the UK is the Wellcome Trust and Medical Research Council, but several research charities also offer funding for doctors at different stages of their training.

When to apply for a CRTF?

  • CRTF could follow on after the Specialised Foundation Programme (SFP) or an Academic Clinical Fellowship (ACF), which will maximise the opportunities for the trainees to compete successfully for funding for a 3 year CRTF.
  • The ACF scheme has protected research time in order to allow the preparation of a proposal to an external funding body for a CRTF fellowship leading to a PhD.
  • However, a CRTF can be applied for at any time, if an individual has sufficient research experience, has identified a suitable supervisor at UCL and written a comprehensive research proposal to apply for funding.

Where to apply for a CRTF?

  • UCL trainees have been successful at gaining Fellowship funding from a very large variety of charities and research councils.

Both the larger funders such as the Wellcome Trust and Medical Research Council, but also smaller charities that are often linked to particular diseases or clinical specialities.

Please Note:

After an application is submitted it often takes 4-6 months for a funder to reach a decision on whether to short-list and interview you, so leave enough time before you would like your project to start.