Dr Caroline Knight
Professor Lucilla Poston
The King's College London Division of Women’s Health has an extensive programme of translational research groups spanning all aspects of the life course; (1) Development and Reproductive Biology, (2) Reproductive medicine, (3) Preterm & term birth, (4) Maternal metabolic disorders, (5) Maternal hypertension, (6) Women’s Mental Health Policy, (7) Maternal health policy, systems and implementation, (8) paediatric allergy, (9) paediatric respiratory physiology and (10) This is underpinned by a portfolio of perinatal clinical trials, and strengths in epidemiology, biostatistics, laboratory based research and Implementation Science. The Division of Women’s Health, in collaboration with the KCL Centre for the Developing Brain, is embarking on a programme of life course research focused on the determinants and consequences of pre-conception health, in-utero fetal programming and pregnancy complications on the immediate and long term physical and mental health of the mother and child. This is the basis of the Institute of Development and Health.
The proposed Academic Clinical Fellow (ACF) and Academic Clinical Lecturer (ACL) research-training programme will draw on a breadth of opportunities available within the Division, spanning laboratory based projects to translational and clinical programmes. The post holder will also have the opportunity to align their academic interest to the internationally renowned clinical service and training opportunities within Guy’s & St Thomas’ (GSTT) NHS Foundation Trust and King's College Hospital (KCH) NHS Foundation Trust. This will facilitate the development of their academic portfolio in established translational research environments.
The key strength of the Division is the availability of highly translational programmes of research in both Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College Hospital. Close proximity to the clinical services underpins the success of these programmes. There is also increasing collaboration with other Departments and Divisions in King’s College London. These collaborations are pivotal in developing research programmes which recognise the contribution of pregnancy and early fetal development to long term physical and mental health and wellbeing. For clinical trainees, these exposures provide a comprehensive view and experience, fundamental for their career development (including IAT Research methods course).
Academic Clinical Fellows (ACFs)
The ACFs will be appointed within the ST1-3 programme South London Deanery programme in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. The clinical placements will be allocated to Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust or King’s College Hospital NHS foundation Trust dependant on the academic alignment of the post holder in ACF. The current 3-year period for each ACF is spent in the designated hospital. The ACFs will spend a 9-month clinical period for each calendar year in the designated hospital.
The Academic Clinical Fellows (ACF) programme is complemented by a modular clinical training programme. The ACFs have a dedicated 3-month block of research per year. The remaining 9-month clinical training programme is integrated within the ST 1-5 clinical training programme. This includes dedicated clinical placements in obstetrics, gynaecology, and attendance at clinical meetings in the specialty (obstetric multidisciplinary, perinatal morbidity & mortality, gynaecology multidisciplinary, audit). The ACF is supported by both an academic supervisor and a clinical supervisor. The academic supervisor is focused on the academic and research development of the trainee whilst the clinical supervisor ensures continued clinical development and progression. At present in the Division, the clinical supervisor role is allocated to a senior clinical academic / consultant, who is familiar with both the clinical and academic requirements for career progression. This is reflected by successful progression of recent ACFs.
ACFs are actively supported to develop skills in research methodology, data analysis and scientific writing. They are encouraged to enrol for existing research development and methodology courses within KCL. The research infrastructure within the Division also provides supports in these key skills. ACFs are also actively provided support to develop a competitive research training fellowship for a PhD. We have an established track record of pre-doctoral ACFs who have successfully secured funding for doctoral training. Post-doctoral ACFs are also provided the necessary infrastructure to ensure continued academic development and output in their key area of interest. Attendance at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the RCOG (Blair Bell Society) is actively supported.
Academic Clinical Lecturers (ACLs)
The maternal & fetal medicine training programme within the Division of Women’s Health, GSTT is an RCOG accredited training programme which has received RCOG approval for combined clinical lectureship training. At present this training post is occupied by an NIHR Clinical lectureship and a matched post. There are also two academic clinical lectureships funded by the Tommy’s Charity.
ACLs are appointed on the basis of successful completion of doctoral training with an established track record in academic training with demonstrable potential of a clinical academic career. The post holder is paired with one of the research groups of interest with whom they develop a research programme which aligns with their academic interests and strengths within the Division. ACLs are expected to develop funding proposals during their training. This is often interdisciplinary which draws on the strengths available within the Division and also in King’s Health Partners. External mentorship is also provided.
The Academic Clinical Lecturers (ACLs) in Maternal & Fetal Medicine (MFM) is also complemented by a modular clinical training programme with modules in fetal medicine, maternal medicine, high risk obstetrics, intrapartum care, clinical genetics and infectious diseases in pregnancy. This training is delivered through blocks of clinical placements in each of these modules. There are key clinical leads for each of these clinical modules who support the clinical training of the ACLs. In addition, provisions are also made for the clinical trainees to attend key multidisciplinary meetings in MFM.