Aims of cluster
The School of Translational and Experimental Medicine (STEM) was set up in 2012 in order to build capacity and capability in translational medical research through the creation a range of training opportunities. Our main focus has so far been on early career translational researchers, and to date we have recruited and trained over 120 researchers many of whom are now approaching the point of leading their own research teams as Principal Investigators (PIs).
Recruitment and training
We offer two main programme types: four-year PhD studentships for scientists, and one-year fellowships for clinicians. We recruit to these programmes by calling for research project proposals from KCL PIs based in Guy’s & St Thomas’ and King’s College Hospitals. These proposals are assessed by the BRC’s education leads for the quality of training opportunity and the scope for the trainee to develop a further research proposals. The most appropriate projects are then advertised nationally through a number of channels in order to attract the most promising early career researchers.
Once appointed, trainees develop their skills through a combination of learning methods – experientially in their PI’s lab or clinical research environment; through a range of taught courses, e.g. research methods, Public & Patient Involvement, presentation skills; and through KCLs extensive on-line and library learning resources. We have also on occasion funded placements in other research centres in the UK and abroad that have specialised research practices and facilities.
During their training, all our trainees have dual supervision from both an academic and clinician in order to ensure a translational perspective in their research.
STEM Training Programmes
The STEM training programmes include:
Clinical Training Fellowships (CTF)
Running since 2007, this fellowship enables medically qualified clinicians (most usually those still in training) to engage in a one-year, full-time on a project in order to develop their research skills and gain pilot data which will lead to an application for further funding for a PhD programme. We have had >90% success rate with fellows securing grants from the MRC, Wellcome Trust and NIHR as well as disease- specific charities such as the BHF and Diabetes UK
Recruitment to CTF posts takes place annually in December/January for an October start. The fellowship funding covers salary costs (equivalent to their NHS grade) an a consumable budget of up to £10k.
Nursing, Midwifery & Allied Health Professional (NMAHP) Research Training Fellowships
The NMAHP fellowship also supports one year in a translational research environment. In addition to undertaking a research project, these fellows will also complete an MRes in Clinical Research. Similar to the medical CTF, this programme covers salary costs equivalent to NHS salary, and also a budget for the MRes fee and research consumables. We have had a range of professions participating in this programme: including nurses, midwives, pharmacists, occupational therapists and radiographers.
Recruitment to NMAHP RTF posts takes place annually in January/February for a September start.
MRes and PhD in Biomedical and Translational Research in collaboration with the King’s Bioscience Institute
This is 1+3 programme is aimed at the most able science graduates. The first year of the programme sees the students developing their translational research skills through three lab rotations. Concurrent with experiential learning in the lab, the students will develop their knowledge through completion of an MRes in Biomedical & Translational Science. At the end of the first year, the students then select their three year PhD project with one of the labs in which they have worked. The studentship provides funding for a tax-free annual stipend, tuition fees and research consumable costs.
King’s Prize Fellowships
This is a post-doctoral fellowship for scientists and clinicians who have just completed their PhD, previously known as the Bridging Fellowship. This one-year programme provides capacity in the research training stream at what has been identified as a bottleneck for early career researchers. This fellowship provides funding and resources for the post-docs to gain pilot data from a research study in order to apply for intermediate and clinician scientist fellowships. As with our other programmes, this fellowship finds salary and research costs.
Recruitment KPF posts takes place annually in December and June.
Collaborative training programmes
Clinical Training Fellowships in partnership with The Francis Crick Institute
This programme was launched at the inception of the Francis Crick Institute in 2014. Along with the NIHR Biomedical Research Centres at Imperial and University College London, we offer a one-year clinical joint fellowship. The research projects available through this programme are shared between the Institute and BRC. Fellows are supervised jointly and will use facilities and resources in both of the partner organisations. The funding includes salary and research costs.
Recruitment takes place annually in April / May.
Joint Preparatory Fellowships with South London and the Maudsley NIHR Biomedical Research Centre
Launched in 2014, this one-year programme provides funding and support for clinicians (medical and NMAHP) to work on a research project at the interface of mental and physical health. Supervision is provided by PIs from both BRCs, and as with CTF programme, it is expected that on completion of the year, the fellow will apply for grant to fund a PhD programme
Recruitment takes place annually in November/December
At STEM we have invested in individual career development for researchers at different career stages and on different career paths. We’ve tailored this support to help the career development of our translational scientists.
We believe in supporting scientists in a way which works for them, for example through tailored mentorship, flexible working, or alternative funding paths.
This is what our researchers say about their experience within our NIHR Biomedical Research Centre.
The STEM cluster board is led by Professor Andrew Cope and comprises senior members from our partner NHS Trusts and Health Schools within King’s College London in order to provide integration and mentorship of the training platforms for our clinical and non-clinical trainees.
It has oversight of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre’s Clinical and Research Training Fellowships and PhD Studentships.