FAQs about the Healthcare Science Innovation Fellowship programme

Frequently asked questions about the Healthcare Science Innovation Fellowship programme.


Programme information

What is the purpose of the programme?

To develop innovation skills in Healthcare Scientists (HCS). 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 reducing issues associated with healthcare inequalities by using innovative technologies for diagnosis or monitoring, that help people to live their lives well, for longer.

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 and MedTech Co-operative 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 and hosted on a bespoke platform and through a mentored project undertaken in the Host Trust.

What is the expected time commitment?

Fellows and their departments are expected to commit on average 1 day per week for the programme over 12 months. It is envisaged that there will be some need to travel over the 12 months to meet in person with the mentors, other Fellows and the Devices for Dignity team. This will be kept under review according to COVID-19 restrictions.

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

The expectation is that Fellows will complete all the elements of the online ‘introduction to innovation’ learning resource designed as an integrated innovation course. We recommend that Fellows complete the first four learning elements in the first 2 months of the Programme as a foundation for their project development.

Do I need to be working directly with patients?

No, but Fellows will be encouraged to look at projects seeing the patient as a partner and understanding their journey.

What is the role of the mentor?

The mentors will be matched to the Fellows based on areas of expertise appropriate to the project and their role is to provide expert guidance on the project; make connections where appropriate and act as a critical friend.

Does the Fellowship need to be linked to a product or innovation or can a Fellowship be about learning how to adopt and adapt innovation into the NHS?

As part of each Fellows project, there is a requirement to consider plans for its adoption into the wider NHS system.

How can an ICS support the programme?

We are happy to have involvement and support of an ICS.

Who is offering these modules, would there be long terms plans to offer these as standalones?

This programme is a collaboration between the National School of Healthcare Science, the Office of the Chief Scientific Officer for NHS England, Health Education and Improvement Wales, Healthcare Science Cymru and the National School of Healthcare Science (NSHCS). The programme will be delivered by NIHR Devices for Dignity MedTech Co-operative (Devices for Dignity), an organisation embedded within the NHS and successfully catalysing medical technology innovation since 2008.


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 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 scheme is open to those in England and Wales. The funding requires the NHS post to be based in England/Wales.

Can we apply as a team of 2-3 people in the department or is it only available for individual candidates?

We envisage this for an individual for 1 bursary, however, this could still be supported by a team.

Do you have to be a Registered Clinical Scientist?

No. The programme is for Healthcare Scientists, 1-year post qualification and working in the NHS, who are interested in the end to end pathway of medical technology development, with some relevant background.

In NHS Wales, Radiographers and Operating Department Practitioners are included within Healthcare Science and, as such, HCPC registered Radiographers and Operating Department Practitioners working in NHS Wales are also eligible to apply for this fellowship.

Is it suitable for someone experienced with the implementation of the new as opposed to the design and invention of it?

Yes. Those involved in adopting new technologies, redesigning services to accommodate implementation of technologies or repurposing existing technology into new disciplines would be most welcome to apply.


Benefits to fellows

Will completing the course count for CPD purposes?

It is hoped that the course content will be accredited by the CPD Accreditation Service and Fellows will receive certificates for completion of the online learning.

What are the benefits of being an Innovation Fellow?
  • a £15K training bursary (held by the Host Trust) to support costs of the innovation fellowship
  • opportunity to present your project and experience at prestigious CSO Conference
  • raising your profile within your own Trust
  • mentoring from NIHR and NHS 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 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 application form, 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 the programme focus delivering benefits to healthcare inequalities through the use of innovative technologies for diagnosis or monitoring; helping people to live their lives well, for longer and any synergies with the work of the Devices for Dignity MIC.
  5. Indicate how they would progress the project after completing the Fellowship.

The completed application should be emailed to: england.cso@nhs.net with subject line ‘2023 Healthcare Science’.


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 and 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 Devices for Dignity 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 specialists proposing the project.


Application process

What is the timescale for the Innovation Fellow programme?
  • Application opens: 23rd November 2023
  • Application closes: 7th December 2023
  • Shortlisting decision: 22nd December 2023
  • Interviews: 4th, 5th and 8th January 2024
  • Successful applicants announced: 15th January 2024
  • Programme commences: 4th March 2024

Contact information

How do we find out more information?

Fellowship enquiries can be sent to Clare Bartlett (D4D Project Manager): c.bartlett1@nhs.net

Last updated on 29th November 2023