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What is the Academic Foundation Programme

Updated: Jul 11, 2021

The Academic Foundation Programme is a selective programme which enables candidates to dedicate one of the six blocks to research, leadership, or education based activity. (It's now recently been changed to The Specialised Foundation Programme). There is a significant variation in how this is delivered. For instance how this academic time is divided between the two years. The most common format is that which entirely replaces a clinical block with research time, typically in FY2 year. However this can even replace two clinical blocks (Newcastle) or be split entirely across FY1 /FY2 on a 1-2day/week basis. You will need to research each AUoA thoroughly before applying to determine which format wll suit your needs best.

An example academic F1/F2:

F1: Cardiology, T&O, Gastro

F2: Research (with clinical day release), ICU (with academic day release), GP (with academic day release)

For the duration of the academic time candidates typically have access to university resources and an academic department of their choosing. This will enable access to libraries , journals, that otherwise would not be possible for FP candidates. Additionally som AUoA offer PGCerts, which can be helpful for Core training application points.

You will be given an academic supervisor to structure

How does the application process differ?

For the FP application there will be a total of 100 points available for each candidate. This is assessed via the Situational Judgement Test (50 points) and the Educational Performance Measure (EPM) score (50 points).

The situational judgement test is typically performed in final year and is only used to rank candidates in the FP system.

There are other FP opportunities such as the Foundation Priority Placements & Psychiatry Foundation Fellowship placements. More info here.

How to decide AFP vs FP?

This is a complex and personal question which will be based on what your objectives are and what you would like to get out of your foundation training. An AFP can be useful to pursue specific research or education aims, and develop a network within a chosen specialty. With this in mind it will be important to choose the AuOA carefully, as well as possible projects. It would not be optimal to be in an academic post pursuing something you weren’t interested in, with the expectation of outputs from it.

Other advantages include the ability to stay in the same hospital for two years (at some AuOA). Facilitated support with an allocated academic supervisor, with experience in publishing research.

There are some disadvantages to consider

However, doing an FP does not exclude you from this and there will be many FP candidates who do more research or education/leadership activity than AFP counterparts. The main difference is time and support. In an AFP you will have dedicated time to spend doing these activities.

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