Trinity will participate in a newly launched programme designed to provide improved training for clinical scientists, increase activity in research, and improve patient care and patient outcomes.
The college will be one of six major Irish universities participating in the programme, entitled The Wellcome- Health Research Board Irish Clinical Academic Training Programme (ICAT), alongside their affiliated hospital and hospital groups. Two health services and postgraduate training bodies the Republic of Ireland and the North will also form part of the programme.
Prior to this launch, medical school graduates with an aim to specialise in a particular clinical area had to enter a postgraduate clinical training programme, which would primarily focus on clinical learning and practice. It has been argued that this leaves little designated time for research and teaching.
In contrast to this system, the ICAT programme hopes to invest more time into research, both clinical and scientific. The programme will combine clinical training and mentored academic training, with participants providing clinical care to patients. The programme spans six to seven years for each student.
The €16 million programme will be partly funded by the partner universities. Alongside Trinity, University College Dublin (UCD), National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway), University College Cork (UCC), Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and Queen’s University Belfast are also involved in the programme.
Minister for Health, Simon Harris, stated that he was “delighted” to launch this “significant investment in the future of the health service”. Speaking on the effect the programme will have, Harris commented that: “Patients will be the long-term winners as this collaborative investment which will fundamentally improve both the number and calibre of clinician scientists working in our universities and health services.”
The first eight fellows to begin the programme will train in a range of clinical specialties, including Psychiatry, Infectious Diseases, Endocrinology, Dermatology, Nephrology and Public Health, in the institution of their choice. They will spend 70% of their time in clinical training in the first year and, following the development of their PhD proposals, ICAT fellows can register for a full-time, 3-year PhD. Harris stated he was “highly impressed with the calibre of the first eight ICAT fellows from across the postgraduate disciplines”.