Student TERN (STERN) was developed to bring TERN’s aims of improving access to research opportunities, demystifying clinical research and developing our trainees to EM-interested students.

We want to get students engaged in research early, as we know it can be hard to get research opportunities as a medical student [1]. We want to get students engaged in Emergency Medicine research early, so that when they do become doctors they have some research experience and skills, particularly at a time when they are also getting used to working as a doctor.

Exposing students to research opportunities stimulates research interest & skills [2], and encourages students to undertake research-roles. Students who undertake early academic training programmes such as the academic foundation training programme or academic clinical fellowships find the experiences helpful for preparing for a career in academia [3, 4].

We feel that encouraging early research activity is just another way in which we can reverse the decline in emergency medicine academic output over the past twenty years. This is why we are working to develop a Student TERN – STERN.


How this works is still an evolving process – currently we are working with universities offering undergraduate degrees in the urgent & emergency care sphere. How TERN works with your course will differ according to your course circumstances, as these are heterogenous and have different structures, syllabuses, and student cohorts. We are happy to work alongside your academic year, existing research infrastructure, and student population.

We are currently working with the University of Plymouth and have started working with the University of Cardiff, and are taking different strategies to each approach. If you’re interested in getting involved, please feel free to email us or get in touch with us on our Contact Us page. We’re always happy to have a chat about how we can work collaboratively to make student TERN (STERN) more than a slightly-amusing acronym.




  1. Funston, G., et al. Medical student perceptions of research and research-orientated careers: An international questionnaire study. Medical Teacher 38(10): 1041-8 (2016).
  2. Chang, Y., Ramnanan, C. A review of literature on medical students and scholarly research: experiences, attitudes, and outcomes. Academic Medicine 90(8): 1162-73 (2015). 
  3. Darbyshire, D., Baker, P., Agius, S., McAleer, S. Trainee and supervisor experience of the Academic Foundation Programme. J R Coll Physicians Edinb 49(1): 43-51. (2019).
  4. Clough, S., et al. What impact has the NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship (ACF) scheme had on clinical academic careers in England over the last 10 years? A retrospective study. BMJ Open 7(6): e015722 (2017).
  5. Smith, J., et al. Evolution of methodology and reporting of emergency medicine quantitative research over a 20-year period. EMJ 37(6): 324-9. (2020).