In 2006-07, Welsh Office for Research and Development (WORD) made £400k available on a non recurrent basis to enable Wales to join the Walport Scheme. Recruitment has been difficult and it was felt that the scheme lacked a secure funding base and a strategic approach to meet the needs of Wales.
In response to the acknowledgement of the need for a new direction, WORD established a policy forum for clinical academic careers and, as a result of this policy forum, a new model for clinical academic careers in Wales has been agreed, similar to the E-CAT model utilised in Edinburgh. The scheme ensures completion to a position where they can apply for senior lecturer posts or for external funding for intermediate or senior fellowships.
It is proposed that 10 candidates are appointed for placement throughout Wales in the first two years, reducing to five candidates each year from year 3. This will result in a maximum of 50 places by year 8 plus the 'new blood' clinical lectureships starting in year 5. The posts are fully funded for the duration of training including the PhD years. By winter 2008 Wales had 16 Walport posts.
The scheme will include a formal assessment or interview on completion of the PhD to permit entry into the lectureship training (years 5-8). The scheme will be administered by the medical schools via the postgraduate deanery. The proposed scheme is similar to the Walport Scheme (which proposes to allocate five Fellowships per annum to each medical school) but it also incorporates a complete academic training pathway.
The Welsh assembly has confirmed funding for the initiative that will cover all of Wales and it is expected that the deanery will receive applications from academic institutes across the UK for these posts.
In Wales an exit strategy for promising candidates is essential in the proposed scheme to retain the candidates that have been trained locally. Fully funded senior lecturer posts, available throughout Wales after open competition, will be introduced using a phased approach, beginning with three posts starting in August-September 2014 and rising to 18 posts each year from August-September 2017.