Prior to going to university I realised I had two main interests, medicine and computing and I have found that a career in Radiology has allowed me to combine these. Moreover I have always wanted to pursue a career in academic radiology, and it was the RCR in combination with the MRC who gave me my first opportunity to follow this career path. A higher degree is essential, not only to develop skills necessary as a researcher, but also to confirm that you want to follow an academic path in the longer term. With this in mind it was through the joint MRC/RCR clinical research training fellowship I was able to undertake a PhD with funding not only for my salary but also for my research costs.
My PhD on the development of an exemplar decision support system in aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage enabled me to develop skills in both radiology and computer science. Having Professor Jackson in Radiology and Professor Keane in Computer Science at the University of Manchester as my PhD supervisors I have acquired unique cross domain expertise that allows me to undertake complex medical decision support projects. I am now able to understand the requirements of both computing and medicine necessary for the implementation of such systems. Additionally my PhD enabled me to undertake taught courses in both medical imaging as well as biostatistics which are invaluable in my field of interest.
Having obtained my PhD I completed my clinical training as a Lecturer in an NIHR matched post at the University of Manchester and used this time to consolidate my CV and apply for further clinical research posts with the support of the University of Manchester and Salford Royal Foundation NHS Trust. Following successful application and interview I was awarded an NIHR Clinician Scientist Post, and in March 2011 I took up this post in conjunction with an Honorary Consultant post at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.
Through my MRC/RCR Clinical Research Training Fellowship I have received the best start a Radiology Clinical Academic could have and I hope that this will stand me in good stead as I develop into an independent researcher.