- Course studied: Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship
I am a Children’s Physiotherapist at Leeds Children’s Hospital with a special interest in paediatric orthopaedics, more specifically, a condition called Perthes’ Disease, a condition where the head of the femur does not develop normally as a result of poor blood flow. I am currently completing my HEE/NIHR ICA Pre-Doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship (PCAF) and working as part of Leeds Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Medicine (LIRMM), University of Leeds. I started this two-year, fully funded award in September 2018.
I applied for the PCAF after completing my ICA MSc Clinical Research Methods in 2016 at University of Leeds. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and it confirmed for me that I want to progress on the clinical academic pathway. The PCAF award specifically appealed to me as it was designed to assist awardees in their application for a doctoral fellowship.
Since starting the PCAF in September 2018 I have been able to work on the development of what essentially was a question that I asked as a clinician: ‘are we doing the best for these patients?’
I spent the early months of the PCAF using my existing contacts to network with a range of clinical and academic specialists that will be most suited to my research area. This has included discussing the specialist clinical condition with a number of orthopaedic specialists from across the country (and recently worldwide!).
The PCAF has also allowed me to take part in a lot of academic networking at meetings and conferences which are fantastic events for meeting clinical academics who are on the same pathway but at varying stages. Another strong platform for communicating about research and networking with a range of people that can influence your research and career has been via social media. I personally use Twitter to discuss my current research, the progress I make, and to share experiences with others.
I have completed the training outlined in my development programme and carried out some invaluable Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) work to ensure that I have both in mind when developing my doctoral fellowship application. Ultimately the PCAF has protected 50% of my time to allow me to do these things and develop a strong application for a doctoral fellowship. I have recently submitted my application for a HEE/NIHR Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship and would aim to complete that over the next 4-5 years working on Non-Surgical Treatment of Perthes’ Disease in Children.