Life as an academic

Combining research with clinical oncology training and later with a consultant position is incredibly rewarding but also brings it own unique challenges. Some current trainees and consultants who are making a success of it have written about what they do and how find that balance.

photo of Chris Jones

Dr Chris Jones: Academic Clinical Fellow in Clinical Oncology

Chris is an Academic Clinical Fellow (ACF) in Clinical Oncology based in Leeds. He recounts how he pursued his interest in cancer research from medical school and his academic work as an ACF and, managing this alongside his clinical training.  

photo of Ben O'Leary

Dr Ben O'Leary: Clinical Oncology trainee and former NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow, now a Clinical Research Fellow undertaking a PhD 

Ben is a clinical oncology trainee. He started training as an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow (ACF) and is now undertaking a PhD.  He talks about why he chose that path, what he is doing and how it is enhancing his training. 


Dr Sally Appleyard: Clinical Oncology trainee taking time out of training in research to do an MD

Sally is clinical oncology trainee in her 4th year of training who has taken time out to undertake an MD. She also works less than full-time while raising a young family. Sally talks about her expectations and how dedicated research time compares to a 'typical' clinical oncology job.

Photo of Anna Kirby

Dr Anna Kirby: Clinical Oncology Consultant

Anna specialises in the treatment of patients with breast cancer and  leads research into novel breast radiotherapy techniques. She talks about how she came to undertake a research degree and how she manages to balance her clinical commitments alongside keeping up a research portfolio

photo of Ananya Choudhury

Dr Ananya Choudhury: Clinical Oncology Consultant and Honorary Reader

Ananya spends half her time as a clinician specialising in prostate and bladder cancers, and the other half in research. She talks about the satisfaction that the research work brings and how she balances it with a clinical job in the NHS. 

Photo of Anthony Chalmers

Professor Anthony Chalmers: Clinical Oncology Consultant and Clinician Scientist

Anthony is a cancer specialist based at the University of Glasgow. He and his team are working on improving treatments for people with a fast-growing type of brain tumour called glioblastoma. He talks about how he became involved in research and the rewards of pursuing an academic career. 

If you are clinical oncology trainee or consultant involved in research and you would like to share your experiences, please email