Academic Clinical Lecturers

Imperial is proud to have one of the largest cohorts of National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) trainees in the UK. We currently have approximately 35 NIHR and locally funded Academic Clinical Lecturers in posts across Imperial and Imperial Partners Academic Health Sciences System, who have been successfully running NIHR schemes since their inception in 2006.

Please see below for information on how to apply, eligibility criteria, research, registration, contracts, bursaries and funding.

Accordion widget - ACL


.Recruitment of all ACL opportunities, on the Integrated Academic Training programme, is conducted via Health Education England regions and managed through Oriel, the national NHS online recruitment system.  For Imperial College London, recruitment to ACL posts is coordinated by the London Recruitment team, based in the Operations Department of Health Education South London and overseen by NIHR. Details are available on the NIHR website  and the London LETBs Recruitment website .

Recruitment windows usually open in November/December for posts starting in the following year. ACL opportunities at Imperial College London are available in different specialties each year.

ACL posts are for a maximum of four years. The end date will be determined either by the end of the four-year period or by the date of a receipt of medical trainee’s Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT). The posts are designed to include 50% time carrying out academic research combined with 50% time in clinical training. The ACL awards use clinical training opportunities on current GMC approved training programmes. At Imperial College, these opportunities are available in most GMC defined medical specialties. Once in the programme, London academic trainees are administratively overseen by the Integrated Academic Training Team (IAT) in Health Education South London. The IAT team has good links with (and regularly liaises with) members of the Imperial College AHSC CATO team on matters relating to the administration of NIHR clinical academic training programmes. Day-to-day management is by clinical and academic supervisors and training programme directors at Imperial College.


This programme is aimed at medical trainees who possess a higher degree (PhD/MPhil) and have a commitment to an academic career.  The ultimate aim is to prepare trainees in obtaining a Clinical Scientist Fellowship or a Senior Clinical Lectureship post. Imperial College usually has around seven ACL opportunities available each year in a range of clinical specialties.  


ACLs will have a contract with Imperial College London and an honorary contract with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. Honorary contracts normally run concurrently with the substantive contract and are issued to allow trainees to work in the organisation where they do not have a substantive contract.

Contracts will be issued by the relevant HR Department and coordinated at departmental level by Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare Trust. There are a number of requirements, checks and different forms to fill out in order to finalise the contracts and it can take some time to complete, so trainees are advised to make contact early and establish who their departmental administrators are to assist them with these tasks. This is particularly important for trainees who are new to Imperial College or the Trust who will have to complete a more comprehensive process than those who have been employed by Imperial College before.

Clinical Academic trainees will also be required to complete other routine HR new starter and induction formalities, such as collection of ID cards, completion of induction training activities, Information Governance Training and other statutory and mandatory training sessions. 




Funding and bursaries

There are currently two sources of funding available to Imperial NIHR academic clinical lecturers to support their research. Each fund has a distinct purpose, eligibility criteria and application process - both are coordinated through the CATO. Academic trainees are advised to consider their academic training, research consumables and skills development needs early on in their programmes in order to achieve maximum benefit from the funding available. See funding section for further information.

The two funding sources for ACLs are listed below: 

  • National Institute of Health Research Trainee Coordinating Centre Bursary (NIHR TCC)
  • Imperial Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) Funding


CATO trainee forums and meetings

During the course of each year, the CATO team organises a number of educational events and other activities which clinical academic trainees are strongly encouraged to attend. These are provided to disseminate information, present trainees with opportunities to ask questions, share information and encourage networking, social interaction and support.

Courses and development

During the course of their clinical academic training ACLs are required to attend a range of generic courses to progress their academic and research skills, teaching skills and personal and professional development. These could be courses or workshops delivered internally by Imperial College London (The Graduate School and the Education Development Unit), Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, or by external providers and other organisations. In many cases, trainees could apply for NIHR/CATO funding to cover the costs of attending these courses. Further details about potential areas of learning can be found in the AHSC CATO guide (PDF).

‌Expectations of CLs

In addition to developing generic and research skills, trainees at Imperial undertaking CL posts will be expected to have applied for an intermediate fellowship or clinician scientist award within 2 years of starting their CL post.  This requirement will be monitored.

Genomic Medicine

In recognition of the major impact that genomics is expected to have on healthcare research and delivery in future, Imperial aspires for its clinical academic trainees to lead the way by having an understanding of this area.  Through CATO ACFs can be supported to undertake all or part of the MSc in Genomic Medicine at ICL via funding available in the NIHR Research Training Award.  CLs wishing to undertake Genomics modules should contact the CATO Team directly to explore potential funding options.

ACFS and CLs are encouraged to consider the many potential benefits that training in Genomics can bring to their careers.  Although not a mandatory requirement, CATO strongly encourages the acquisition of knowledge and skills in this area.

Further details about the Genomics MSc can be found on the FoM website.


Support and resources

There are a number of individuals who can help and support doctors during their clinical academic training at Imperial, including the CATO team.

Other clinical academic trainees

Through the events organised by CATO and other occasions arranged by each specialty/division trainees will have an opportunity to meet and network with other trainees following academic programmes at Imperial. Trainees are encouraged to take full advantage of these opportunities to meet and stay in touch with others who are in similar situations to themselves, to share experiences and offer and benefit from some peer support.

Departmental administrators

Each of the schools, institutes and departments at Imperial College has administrative divisional/specialty teams who will be able to help academic trainees during their time at Imperial College. To find an up to date list of contacts, visit the Imperial College Faculty of Medicine webpages and search for the administration teams in the Departments section of the Faculty of Medicine.

CATO Guide

The  AHSC CATO Guide (PDF)‌ is an extensive resource of information about the programme at Imperial, and a useful and important ‘how to guide’ for trainees undertaking the IAT pathway. If you have any further questions please email the CATO team,