An overview of the HSST recruitment process


The National School of Healthcare Science (NSHCS) manages recruitment to the Higher Specialist Scientist Training (HSST) in England and Wales. Appointment to the HSST is through a national recruitment and selection process.

The application consists of an online form in which you provide information about how you meet the person specification for the programme, including qualifications, experience, and motivation. The information you provide is reviewed by a panel of shortlisters against the person specification for direct entry applicants.

For 2023, the final selection will be made through an online interview to assess:

  • suitability – the degree to which you meet the person specification for a learner on the programme
  • values, behaviours, leadership, and management skills – to reflect the needs of the programme and the NHS Constitution
  • research, innovation, and any scientific experience

The shortlisting (for direct entry) and interview stages of the recruitment process are carried out by national panels made up of employers, professional bodies and lay/ medical representatives.

If you are an employer (or human resources department) involved in recruitment and need further information or advice that you cannot find in this guidance, or our frequently asked questions, please email


Roles and responsibilities in the recruitment process

Initially we communicate all recruitment information to employers via the Health Education England (HEE) local commissioners.

Employers must ensure that:

  • they fulfil the requirements of the HSST accreditation process
  • any internal recruitment processes for posts are instigated as soon as the post(s) has been confirmed by the HEE Local Team
  • one or more members of the department are nominated to participate in the shortlisting and interview processes
  • their HR department are aware of the posts, the national process and are engaged from the beginning of recruitment
  • they can support HSST trainees through the programme including ensuring trainees get protected time