Employers

What is the Higher Specialist Scientist Training programme? Details about curriculum, funding and eligibility.

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About the HSST programme

The HSST programme seeks to train and develop an increased number of very senior consultant clinical scientists who can lead the development of new research, technology and practice working within multi-professional clinical teams to deliver quality improvement, innovation and world-class outcomes for patients. This patient focused role offers plenty of scope for personal development, great career prospects and a wide range of opportunities to use specialist scientific skills and interests for the benefit of patients. A trainee on the programme will work directly with patients as well as being involved in innovation, research and development, education and training, to the benefit of the future scientific workforce. The programme offers workplace-based training supported by an underpinning doctorate level academic programme, commissioned by Health Education England (HEE) through the Manchester Academy for Healthcare Scientist Education (MAHSE). In Life Sciences the doctorate is optional but there is an additional requirement in these specialisms to complete the Fellowship examination of the Royal College of Pathologists.

The programme requires that a trainee follows a bespoke training programme agreed in advance with their local supervisor and recorded in an e-portfolio. It will require evidence of work place learning outcomes appropriate to the Standards of Proficiency of a Higher Specialist Scientist as published by the Academy of Healthcare Science.

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What does the HSST curriculum deliver?

For all specialisms the HSST curriculum delivers a mastery of higher scientific knowledge and clinical and scientific competence and has a requirement during the 5-year programme for the individual to contribute to innovation or improvement through service delivery, patient safety, care, public communication/outreach and quality management. It delivers both personal and professional development including high-level skills in leadership, management, teaching, and the values, attitudes and behaviours appropriate for higher professional practice in the NHS.

The HSST curricula have been developed through joint working with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and individual medical royal colleges, senior scientists and scientific professional bodies, employers and patients and its underpinning academic doctoral programme has been established through joint working with the Council for Healthcare Science in Higher Education and workforce commissioners.

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The training allowance

To support your Higher Specialist Scientist Training, a training allowance will be provided for each of the 5 years of the HSST programme. This training allowance is in addition to tuition fees for the DClinSci academic programme and will apply to both ‘direct’ posts and to ‘in-service’ posts.

The training allowance is £13,000 per commissioned trainee per year, for each of the 5 years of training. The training allowance will be paid to the relevant training centre via the Health Education England (HEE) Local Office and may be monitored and/or audited via the Learning and Development Agreement (LDA), which is in place between HEE and each placement provider.

Funding for academic fees will be held centrally by Health Education England’s West Midlands Local Office (HEE WM), to commission the Doctoral Level Award from the commissioned education provider (Manchester Academy of Health Science Education – MAHSE).

Expected use of the training allowance

The training allowance is provided on the understanding that it be used flexibly within the employing department to cover the costs of accessing the programme, or address the opportunity costs of training that would include as a minimum:

  • expenses, including travel and accommodation costs associated with required HEI attendance as part of the DClinSci
  • costs of taking Royal College of Pathology Examinations
  • costs of any additional learning that may be needed out with the DClinSci including travel and accommodation
  • research project costs
  • costs of cover to enable release of the individual undertaking HSST

In agreeing to support an individual to undertake the HSST programme, the employing or host department is committed to releasing the individual to access the formal academic learning that underpins the programme and to support them with time to undertake the required workplace research and learning.

It is expected that an agreement would be reached between the employee/direct entry hosted HSST and their workplace on the level of support that will be available to them to complete their programme of study, prior to an individual commencing the programme. This agreement would be expected to recognise the changing requirements of the programme as it progresses.

Health Education England reserves the right to audit the use of the training allowance, in addition to any local LDA monitoring, to ensure that it is being used solely to support the education and development of the individual undertaking the HSST programme and has been of benefit to that individual.

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Eligibility requirements for applicants

All applicants are required to undergo a formal appointment and benchmarking process, which is overseen by the School. Applicants must be Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered as clinical scientists at the start of their training, although they may apply for entry if they are going through the process of application for equivalence and registration or meet the criteria for BMS entry.

Candidates may also have a further year in the workplace to consolidate and enhance clinical scientific skills, learning and experience (including research and education) and are required to demonstrate through interview the ability to meet any additional specific selection criteria required for a particular specialism.

From 2021 we increased the eligibility to join HSST to include senior HCPC registered Biomedical Scientists. Click this link for full details on eligibility and some FAQs.

Last updated on 28th February 2022