Kent and Medway Medical School (KMMS) has been awarded seven Integrated Academic Training (IAT) Fellowships as part of the National Institute of Health Research IAT Competition 2024/5.

This was KMMS’s first application for this peer-reviewed competition, as these fellowships are only available to research-active medical schools.

This is an important landmark for KMMS and builds on the robust and innovative research environment that is being built at KMMS, as evidenced by over £3M of research funding for projects on mental health and global health from a range of funders, including NIHR, Medical Research Council, Clinical Research Network, Wellcome Trust and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The KMMS IAT programme will support three Academic Clinical Fellows in 2024 and four fellows in 2025, who will gain research experience as part of their higher specialist clinical training.

The KMMS IAT programme will be led by Professor Sukhi Shergill, Co-Director of Research at KMMS and Director of Research at KMPT, Kent’s specialist NHS mental health trust, will be the IAT Programme Lead. Professor Lisa Dikomitis, Co-Director of Research at KMMS and Director of the Centre of Health Services Studies at the University of Kent, and Professor Gurprit Lall.

All trainees will benefit from the IAT Kent partnership’s rich academic training infrastructure, building on the partner Universities’ high-quality clinical research strengths as well as strong ongoing collaborative partnerships with Kings College London and the NHS Trusts across Kent and Medway.

The core of the Research Training Programme will be provided in partnership with the well-established King’s College London's Clinical Academic Training Hub offering a PG Certificate (PGCert) in Applied Research Methods for all ACFs. This bespoke PGCert builds trainees' depth of knowledge, technical and transferable skills in translational research and evidence-based healthcare. To ensure that trainees are embedded in their local Kent training environment, a local portfolio of academic events and training will be provided at KMMS, the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church.

One of the three projects to run in 2024 is in General Adult Psychiatry. It will be a cross-disciplinary research project between KMMS, UoK and KCL allows sleep specialist clinicians and circadian neuroscientists to understand the mechanisms underpinning sleep disturbances in mental health and will aim to develop novel interventions to help mitigate symptoms in patients. Clinical training will be at Kent and Medway NHS Social Care Partnership Trust.

The second project is in the field of Intensive Care Medicine and will explore the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and extended reality (XR) to improve self-management of people with long term conditions in a home setting – a project that will involve KMMS, the Institute of Cyber Security for Society and the School of Computing at UoK and clinical training at Maidstone and Tunbridge Well NHS Trust.

The third research project focusses on renal medicine and will address the management of patients with multi-morbidity, with particular emphasis on people with chronic kidney disease and associated comorbidity including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and mental illness. This will hope to address the fact that one in five people develop diabetes early after receiving a kidney transplant. This project will involve the Centre for Health Service Studies at the UoK, KMMS and the Renal Department at East Kent University Hospital Foundation Trust.

Professor Sukhi Shergill said: “These fellowship roles are critical in the development of KMMS as it underlies our commitment to both medical research as a basis of our educational offering and the development of the next generation of clinical academic doctors. This further reinforces the connections we have already established between KMMS, partner universities and research-active colleagues within the NHS in Kent and Medway to help us provide a research training pipeline for our future students within our own community”

To find out more about these projects and to apply for any of the roles visit the KMMS website or email

KMMS is a joint collaboration between Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of Kent.