Information for new starters

There are a number of things that academic trainees must do - and many others that they should and are strongly recommended to do - in order to ensure that they maximise their full potential during clinical academic training at Imperial. Some of these are simple practical matters that will help ensure a smooth start and be able to quickly make an impact in their new role, and others support personal progression and career development, requiring reflection and forward planning. 

New starters - please complete the New Clinical Academic Trainee information form and then email it to

Organising research blocks

As soon as they have been appointed, ACFs and ACLs should make contact with the Clinical Lead/Training Programme Director and Academic Training Lead for their specialty to discuss and agree how the research block will be organised. For ACFs, research blocks are usually organised in 3 month or 3+3 month back-to-back concurrent periods, but this will depend on the specialty. For ACLs the structure of research blocks can be variable but many are organised in six-month or one-year blocks. Each specialty or division will have a slightly different model and approach depending on local circumstances, and the research time must be planned in full agreement with Clinical and Academic Leads. Planning for this should start as soon as the ACF/ACL appointment has been confirmed.

Contracts and HR matters

Employment contracts will differ depending on what post a trainee is undertaking. ACLs will have a contract with Imperial College London and an honorary contract with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. ACFs will have a contract with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and an honorary contract with Imperial College London. 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 at either the College or the 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. This is particularly important for trainees who are new to the College or Trust who will have to complete a more comprehensive process than those who have been employed by Imperial before.

Clinical academic trainees will also be required to complete other routine HR induction formalities (such as collection of ID cards and completion of induction training activities including Information Governance Training and other statutory and mandatory training).

Study leave

Study leave funding allows trainees to enhance their clinical education and training in areas not easily acquired in the clinical setting or locally - and is used to support the development of clinical knowledge and understanding. This funding is available to clinical academic trainees over and above the bursaries and funding provided specifically to support academic training, in exactly the same way as for non-academic clinical trainees.

Academic Trainees must be in a recognised training post to be eligible for study leave. Applications are managed by the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust Medical Education Centre. Further details and application forms can be found on the Trust Intranet, or by contacting the Education Centre Team by email ( or telephone at +44 (0)20 3313 7317.


Academic blocks will not usually include on-call commitments, so trainees will only be paid at the basic salary rate for the duration of their academic time. This may, however, vary by clinical specialty and trainees should talk to their Clinical Training Programme Director or department training lead. ACFs/ACLs may wish to supplement their salaries during academic training by arranging to undertake ad hoc shifts that fit easily around their academic blocks. This should not detract from their academic work and should be limited.

e-Portfolio - Academic Clinical Fellows

New ACFs will also need to ensure that their College training e-portfolio is updated to include the academic element of their ACF programme. The Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust Medical Education Centre team can help with organising the update. ACFs should email the Education Centre team to arrange for this to be done (