FAQs for Healthcare Science Innovation Fellowships

Frequently asked questions for healthcare science innovation fellowships.


Programme information

What is the purpose of the programme?

The purpose of the programme is to develop innovation skills in Healthcare Scientists. The intention is to maximise and apply their scientific background in preparation for new roles and more flexible ways of working.

What will Fellows gain by doing this programme?

Training and project experience in the process of innovating and evaluating new healthcare technologies. The focus will be on benefits for people living with and beyond cancer, including those with other co-morbidities.

What is the Host Trust expected to provide to Fellows?

A commitment to support the Fellow’s application by providing 1 day per week of protected study/project time. This will include undertaking an innovation project within the Trust. The agreement of the Fellow’s employer will be a requirement of the application.

Who will deliver the programme?

The NIHR Devices for Dignity MIC (www.devicesfordignity.org.uk) will deliver the taught content and will provide mentoring support during projects.

How will the programme be delivered?

Using a blended approach of online coursework broken into modules followed by a mentored project undertaken in the Host Trust. The final choice of digital platform has not yet been confirmed. It will be one that has been proven across similar programmes.

What is the expected time commitment?

Fellows and their departments will need to commit to a minimum of 20 days to aid study time and project completion over 12 months, with 20% time spent on online learning and 80% project activity.

Will this programme run in future years?

We hope so. The pilot will demonstrate whether there is an appetite for innovation within the HCS community and the degree to which any future programme could be justified.

How flexible is the course content – can Fellows pick and choose parts of the course?

The expectation is that Fellows will complete all of elements of the online ‘introduction to innovation’ learning resource designed as an integrated innovation course. However, there may be scope for accreditation for prior learning if applicants can provide suitable APL evidence e.g. GCP certificate towards clinical governance.


Who can apply

Is the programme open to all specialisms of healthcare scientists?

Yes.  Applicants will need to demonstrate an aptitude for innovation. Part of the selection process will include submitting a project proposal (Expression of Interest) that will form part of the Fellow’s programme. The fit and ambition of the project form part of the selection.

Is there a minimum grade of Healthcare Scientist that may apply?

Not explicitly. To benefit from the programme, it is a requirement that any applicant is in an established NHS post, has completed training appropriate to their discipline/specialism and has a minimum of 1 year’s post-training experience.  The funding requires the NHS post to be based in England.


Benefits to fellows

Will completing the course count for CPD purposes?

Yes. The course content will be accredited by the CPD Accreditation Service and Fellows will receive certificates for completion of the online learning.

Are there any other benefits from being an Innovation Fellow?
  • A £15K training bursary (held by the Host Trust) to support direct costs of undertaking the innovation project.
  • Opportunity to present your project and experience at prestigious CSO Conference
  • Raising your profile within your own Trust.
  • Mentoring from NIHR experts in healthcare technology innovation
  • Networking with other innovators
  • Engagement with the wider innovation landscape

Benefits to the system

How will host departments and Trusts benefit from this programme?

Covid-19 has demonstrated that HCS are a valuable and often untapped workforce for initiating and delivering healthcare innovation. This programme will demonstrate that with the right support and opportunity, HCS can contribute more to solving unmet innovation needs in Trusts and across other healthcare settings.

How will the HCS community benefit from this programme?

We expect that this programme will provide a valuable opportunity to extend the scope of the HCS workforce, offering those with the right motivation and inclination for innovation with the tools to develop their skills.


How to apply

What will candidates have to do to apply?

They will first need to discuss the opportunity with their Host department to agree a potential innovation project.

They will then complete and submit an Expression of Interest, outlining  the following:

  1. Why they are interested in the programme
  2. How they believe it will help them develop as a Healthcare Scientist
  3. How the programme will help their department specifically
  4. Provide an overview of the potential technology innovation project, indicating its relevance to living with and beyond cancer and any overlaps with the work of the Devices for Dignity MIC.

Indicate how they would progress the project after completing the Fellowship.


Assessment criteria

How will potential Fellows be selected?

Selection criteria will include:

  • Commitment to innovation, evidenced by the skillset/ attitude/experience of the applicant
  • Ambition of the proposed innovation project and its relevance to NHS priorities
  • Support from host centre: e.g. providing opportunities post Fellowship to exploit the knowledge & skills developed
What if a potential applicant doesn’t have an innovation project in mind - can they still apply?

All applicants should have an innovation project proposed as part of the application process. However, if the applicant is successfully selected as a Fellow, they may be allocated a project brief by the D4D team should the project proposed not be feasible within the timescales.  The final project allocation will be in negotiation with the Fellow, their host Trust and cancer specialists proposing the project.


Application process

What is the timescale for the Innovation Fellow programme?
  • Launch Webinar: 21st September 2020
  • Application opens: 25th September 2020
  • Application closes: 2nd November 2020
  • Shortlisting: completed by 16th November 2020
  • Interviews: 10th/11th December 2020
  • Decision announced: w/c 14th December 2020
  • Programme commences: 1st February 2021

Contact information

How do we find out more information?

The information will be publicised through the CSO office website and also will be available on the D4D website:

Last updated on 16th June 2021