SAPC-HODS Future Leaders Initiative: an invitation to apply

Introducing the SAPC-HODS Future Leaders Initiative

The SAPC-HODs group is the representative body of each of the Heads of Departments from the 46 departments of Academic Primary Care represented in SAPC. SAPC-HODs is responsible for overseeing the strategic and practical support for primary care academic activity within its member departments. HODs serves both an executive function in supporting individual and collective action of HODs and departments, and a strategic/leadership function in supporting the collective goals of SAPC.

In 2021, SAPC-HODS are launching a new Future Leaders Initiative. This work addresses two priorities identified by HODS:

  • CAPACITY BUILDING: an ongoing need to strengthen capacity within University departments, including recognising and celebrating the diversity of academic activity across our discipline. In particular, we seek to provide additional support for mid-career academics transitioning to senior positions (and recognising diversity and inclusivity needs).
  • OPTIMISING VISIBILITY & IMPACT OF THE DISCIPLINE: to support sustainability in rapidly changing university and NHS contexts.

The SAPC-HODS Future Leaders initiative aims to address both priorities by inviting individuals to apply for new Future Leader roles, to undertake focused projects that tackle SAPC-HODS priority areas whilst being supported and mentored in their own career development.

Valuing Diversity in APC Contributions is the first project within this new initiative. It will focus on developing and delivering a strategic plan to champion academic diversity. Future Leaders appointed to the programme will lead this work and be supported and mentored in their role by senior academics from HODS, and by RCGP.

This article outlines the project, and the application and appointment process for this first wave of Future Leaders.


Valuing Diversity in Academic Primary Care (APC) Contributions

SAPC-HODS seek to appoint two Future Leaders to undertake an SAPC project on valuing diversity in APC.

APC is changing. Routes into the discipline are increasingly diverse with a range of fellowship opportunities. The range of work needed from, and done by, primary care academics is diversifying. As a result, the range of experience, expertise and skills held by individual primary care academics is broad.

The metrics by which we define career excellence and progression are therefore also changing. The traditional university/academic focus on income generation, publications and student numbers no longer fully reflect the diversity and complexity of academic activity increasingly focused on knowledge exchange, impact and engagement.

Growing diversity adds strength to our discipline but creates new challenges for HODS and others in a variety of settings. Fellowship panels may find themselves comparing candidates with very different applied scholarship backgrounds – e.g. from university and applied settings -  where outputs may look very different although underlying skill sets and excellence are comparable. Appointment panels may need to judge diverse scholarship experience to determine starting pay scales. SAPC Awards panel seeks to ensure diversity and inclusivity for all members in applying for a variety of awards but recognises that traditional metrics do not adequately capture the full range of activities undertaken by members of our discipline.

SAPC-HODS have therefore identified a need for develop a resource to support the recognition and valuing of varied academic expertise. We seek to establish a task-and-finish working group, led by two SAPC Future Leaders. The group will map the activities undertaken across the various career pathways within our discipline, recognise the diversity of academic contributions and outputs generated; and so make recommendations to enhance the recognition of diverse but comparable achievements and promote diversity of opportunity within ACP.

We envisage the resource will be of value to academic departments (e.g. in shaping job descriptions, used by appointment panels) and judging panels; and in guiding primary are academics in developing a portfolio of evidence as they build their careers.

We are therefore inviting applications for two SAPC supported Future Leader posts to undertake this work.

What is the task that the Future Leaders are being asked to do?

We seek to appoint two Future Leaders in APC to undertake this work based on 3 activities:

  1. Scoping/defining the task and the question to design a project plan.
  2. Data collection and analysis: to include interviews/engaging with key stakeholders including senior academics (employers) and potential applicants.
  3. To prepare and present a report to SAPC-HODS and SAPC Exec in December 2021 and prepare an article for the SAPC website.

The role will start in July 2021 and last 6 months. We anticipate the work will take about 25 hours over that time and can be planned flexibly to meet your other commitments.

You will be mentored in the role by an SAPC-HOD with additional opportunity to work with senior colleagues from RCGP engaged in work on Diversity and Inclusivity amongst senior primary care staff.

What are the potential benefits to me of this role?

The role will offer you

  • Leadership experience and opportunities
  • A recognised role that will be recorded on SAPC website and so cited on your CV
  • Facilitated opportunities to build your own networks through meeting and working with APC and SAPC colleagues from across the community

The roles are unfunded, but you will have access to SAPC resources and will receive support and mentorship from senior academics in SAPC and RCGP.

Who can apply for the roles?

You will be:

  • Based in an SAPC department, and be a member of SAPC
  • Hold a position that is equivalent to Senior Lecturer or above, but not be a HOD
  • From PHOCUS or clinical communities we will be appointing one GP and one PHOCUS Future Leader

How do I apply?

Application is by brief CV and cover letter to Prof Joanne Reeve, Chair HODS, by 21st June 2021 ( Your cover letter should outline why you feel Valuing Diversity in APC contributions matters; and how the Future Leaders role could support your personal career development. You should also include a brief letter of support from your Head of Department.

Appointment process

All applications will be reviewed by a panel of HODs, judged against two criteria of:

  • Commitment to Valuing Diversity in academic expertise
  • Potential for future APC leadership

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to a short interview to outline their proposals/plans for the project.

Successful candidates will be notified in early July. The Future Leaders will be asked to present findings of their work at the December 2021 HODS meeting.