Leading Scottish medical schools and research institutes

The universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow host the leading Scottish medical schools and the clinical catchment area of the two cancer treatment centres covers three-quarters of the Scottish population.

TRACC has access to a combined pool of over 80 PIs and potential clinical trainee supervisors who have all undergone mandatory supervisor training. Many are either clinical academics themselves and/or have an established track record in training and mentoring clinical academics. They provide an expert group that encompasses diversity of opportunity in terms of tumour type (notable excellence in brain, colorectal, pancreas, ovary, leukaemias, breast), scientific approach (in vivo/in vitro preclinical models, genetics and genomics, cell biology, immunology, drug discovery, precision oncology, bioinformatics, computational biology, artificial intelligence and machine learning, clinical trials) and disease stage focus (risk-prevention, diagnosis, tumour initiation, invasion and metastasis, response and resistance to treatment). This breadth should be attractive for clinical trainees with interests across the medical spectrum from molecular pathology to physiology, surgery, and medical and clinical oncology. They will be provided with multi-disciplinary training, supported and enabled to pursue research beyond post-graduate qualification, and connected to international cancer research networks to enable them to perform impactful cancer research throughout their careers.

Networking opportunities

TRACC CRTFs will form a cohort of fellows who will have peer support at the induction weeks, dedicated monthly half-day or one-day training seminars alternating between the two Centres (presentations from clinical academics from a variety of specialities and levels of seniority) and retreats. For MB-PhD students, they will form a similar, albeit smaller cohort of individuals who will meet weekly for clinical training. In year two of their PhD, fellows from both CRTF and MB-PhD streams will ‘buddy’ a year one fellow on their stream to provide additional peer support and cohesion and to learn to mentor. Given the importance of research integrity, the CRUK Scotland Institute will provide training workshops on good research practice. All fellows (MB-PhD and CRTFs) will get free registration for the annual CRUK Scotland Institute meeting and workshops. They will also be invited to attend the weekly clinical academic training seminars (which operate at both institutions). In addition, a TRACC annual meeting will be organised to which all fellows and current/potential supervisors will be invited. Trainees will also join the annual Scotland-wide postdoctoral symposium. Outside the programme the MB-PhD and CRTF students will be encouraged to attend and present at meetings within their area of interest and at more general cancer research meetings such as the annual NCRI Cancer Conference. In Edinburgh, the trainees will also benefit from educational activities and networking opportunities with graduates from numerical disciplines (e.g. computer science, physics, mathematics, statistics) provided through the ongoing Cross-disciplinary Postdoctoral Fellowships [XDF] Programme. The XDF Programme has been designed to train future leaders in quantitative biomedicine.