Integrated Academic and Clinical training programme in Psychiatry at Severn Postgraduate Medical Education and the University of Bristol

The School of Psychiatry in Severn Postgraduate Medical Education (PGME) in partnership with the School of Social and Community Medicine at the University of Bristol, offers a high quality integrated academic and clinical training programme for those intending to follow an academic career pathway in psychiatry. There are two entry routes to academic training: 1) At core trainee level as an Academic Clinical Fellow (ACF) and 2) At higher trainee level as a Clinical Lecturer (CL).

Core academic training

At core training level, Academic Clinical Fellow posts enable trainees to gain their basic clinical training whilst also developing their research competencies and experience. During this three year post, trainees will have a day a week for research and mid-way through their training, six months fulltime for research. Academic staff from the University will supervise academic trainees during this time and it is expected that those wishing to continue their academic career prepare a fellowship application to enable them to undertake a PhD after their core training.

Severn PGME will take the lead in recruitment to ACF posts with strong support and participation from the University of Bristol. 

Higher academic training

At advanced trainee level those wishing to continue an academic career can be appointed as Clinical lecturers. NIHR funded clinical lecturers will already have a higher degree but we also appoint those without a higher degree who want to develop their academic career at this stage. CLs have 50% of their time dedicated to research and teaching whilst also completing their higher training in their specialist area. They will each have an academic supervisor from the University of Bristol and the Head of teaching (Dr John Potokar) will oversee the development of their teaching skills.

The University of Bristol and Severn PGME together arrange and agree the appointment of CLs.

Clinical Supervision of ACFs and ACLs

Every trainee will have an educational supervisor and clinical supervisor. The supervision arrangements for clinical training will be the same as for non academic trainees with weekly supervision with clinical supervisor an initial meeting mid point and final meeting with educational supervisor.

Academic Supervision of ACFs and ACLs

With the help of the academic training program director (Dr Jonathan Evans), the trainee will identify a suitable academic supervisor. The best academic supervisor may be a non-clinical academic depending on the research area chosen. The academic supervisor will have an initial meeting with the trainee which will be documented. They will agree goals for the trainee to ensure the trainee has met the expected competencies covering both research and teaching roles. The academic supervisor will meet with the trainee at least fortnightly to help them to develop their research planand to ensure the trainee is achieving the competencies in academic training which are listed below. In addition to the initial meeting a regular supervision meetings, the academic supervisor will hold a mid point review with the trainee and a final review both of these will be documented. The head of teaching Dr John Potokar would advise the trainee and academic supervisor on opportunities to develop teaching skills by feeding into the initial meeting, midpoint review and final meeting.

The academic training program director will be responsible for an overview of the academic placement and trainee progress. The academic program director will meet with the trainee approximately  two monthly to ensure research plans are developing satisfactorily, to ensure teaching skills are developing, to review supervision arrangements, discuss overall academic career plans and help them prepare for their annual progress review the ARCP.

Research competencies will vary depending on the research area chosen by the trainee. The first step will be to identify a research topic and find an appropriate academic supervisor with the assistance of the academic training program director (Dr Jonathan Evans). The following is a list of the competencies that can be achieved during academic training and is based on the one produced by the Academy of medical sciences. Those starred would be expected of all trainees whatever their chosen research field. These can be achieved in a number of ways either with the support of academic supervisor or specific training courses such as the short course program run within the school of social and community medicine

Research competencies

*Identifying a research topic

*Defining a research question

Observational research design

Experimental research design

Qualitative research design

Developing a research proposal

Writing a grant application

*Academic Writing skills

*Verbal presentation skills

Poster presentations

*Critical appraisal of a paper or topic

Carrying out an experiment

*Data interpretation

*Statistical analysis

*Writing a research paper

Writing a thesis

Commercialisation of research outputs

Research Governance competencies

*Research ethics and how they are monitored

*Information storage and retrieval

*Data protection

Patent and Intellectual Property issues

Laboratory safety

Clinical trials / clinical trials legislation

Home Office and Animal Licences

Animal husbandry

Storage of human tissue

*NHS structure and regulations

*Fraud/Scientific misconduct

Knowledge of issues around misuse of research

Research and Integrity (awareness of complex dilemmas in scientific research).

Educational competencies

*Planning a lecture or seminar

*Delivering a lecture or seminar

Small group teaching

Curriculum development

On line teaching resource development

Developing a course handbook

Feedback to assess quality of a course

*Acting as an examiner

Examination methods and assessment criteria

Supervision of undergraduate students

Generic competencies

Effective networking and collaboration

Science and the Media

*Collegiality/ability to work co-operatively and creatively with colleagues

Assertiveness skills


Responsibilities of Academic TPD

To oversee program and ensure trainees are getting adequate supervision and are achieving the competencies. To assist in preparation for and attend ARCPs.

Responsibilities of head of teaching

To ensure trainee has adequate opportunity to develop competencies in teaching and to advise at the outset on a teaching plan. The head of teaching would then have input into the midpoint review and final review.

Responsibilities of academic supervisor

To develop a plan with the trainee to meet research and teaching competencies. To meet regularly for supervision to indentify and guide specific research project. To complete midpoint and final reviews with input from head of teaching.


Information on Health Education SW and the Severn School of Psychiatry

Severn PGME is committed to providing high quality medical training across Avon, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire. The Postgraduate Dean is Dr Geoff Smith. The Head of the Severn Graduate School of Psychiatry is Dr Melanie Merricks. The Core Training Programme Director is Dr Roz Ward. Psychiatric Training is managed by the Severn School of Psychiatry working in close partnership with the Royal College of Psychiatrists and 5 NHS Trusts across the Severn PGME area. All the posts within the Severn School of Psychiatry have been approved by the GMC. 

Information on the University of Bristol School of Social and Community Medicine and Centre for Mental Health, Addiction and Suicide Research

The University of Bristol has a longstanding reputation for international excellence in applied Mental Health Services Research and Psychiatric Epidemiology within the School’s Centre for Mental Health, Addiction and Suicide research.  The Centre’s research programme is funded by the NIHR, MRC, ESRC, Wellcome Trust and other medical research charities. Researchers in the Centre include psychiatrists, health service researchers, public health physicians, statisticians, psychologists, epidemiologists and social scientists. Its research is primarily concerned with population health issues in relation to psychiatric disorder, addictions and suicide. It also has an interest in experimental research and its application to these problems. The research relates to two University research themes: Neuroscience and Population Health ( The School has a strong record of randomised controlled trials investigating interventions for common mental health conditions, conducted in collaboration with the Bristol Randomised Trials Collaboration. The Cochrane Collaboration’s Depression, Anxiety and Neurosis group is based within the Centre and the School hosts several NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research. Another important strand of the Centre’s research is centred around the Bristol-based Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), one of world’s leading cohort studies. There are exciting opportunities to develop programmes of research in collaboration with the newly established MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit (IEU, director George Davey Smith). This £23 million research unit will exploit the latest advances in genetics to improve understanding of how changes to lifestyle or environment, as well as pharmacological interventions, can reduce the risk of disease.

The School of Social and Community Medicine has an outstanding track record in epidemiological and health services research, and provides a stimulating environment for academics at all stages of their careers. Other relevant research interest groups include the Centre for Research Synthesis and Decision-Making, Bristol Suicide and Self-Harm research interest group (SASH, led by Professor David Gunnell) and the Perinatal Mental Health Group (led by Dr Jonathan Evans) there are also strong research links with The Brain, Behavior and Health theme in School of Experimental Psychology led by Professor Marcus Munafo. There is substantial experience within these schools and their collaborators of securing grants; strong support is given to those who are applying for research fellowships or making their first grant applications

For further information regarding PhDs please visit the Bristol University website: