An overview of the STP recruitment process for applicants and employers

A brief overview of how we recruit to the Scientist Training Programme.


This page contains information about the Situational Judgment Tests. Following issues with the third-party platform used to deliver the tests, they were removed from the STP 2021 recruitment process.


The STP is a three-year integrated training programme of academic and work-based learning. This leads to a master’s degree in a healthcare science specialty, an advanced level of practical skills, and the right to apply for statutory registration as a clinical scientist.

STP programmes are based around the following themes:

  • CCVRS Cardiac, Vascular, Critical Care Science, Respiratory & Sleep Sciences including Gastrointestinal and Urodynamic Sciences
  • Neurosensory Sciences
  • Infection Sciences
  • Blood Sciences
  • Cellular Sciences
  • Genomics Sciences including Genomics (formerly Genetics) and Genomics Counselling
  • Medical Physics including Clinical Pharmaceutical Science
  • Clinical Engineering including Reconstructive Science
  • Clinical Bioinformatics (Genomics, Physical Sciences and Health Informatics)

Full details of the programme, including the structure and range of scientific specialties, are available here.

Direct entry applicants

Direct entry applicants are those entering the training programme from outside the NHS, who do not already have a substantive employment contract in the NHS. If selected, applicants will follow the programme full time for three years under a fixed term training contract with the host organisation, they will be employed at NHS Agenda for Change Band 6.

Existing NHS employees can apply for direct entry but would have to resign from their existing post to start the programme.


Advertising the training posts

The STP training posts are advertised once all the commissioned training places for the year have been received and confirmed by HEE local commissioners. Posts are usually advertised on NHS jobs, Oriel and the School’s website.


STP Open days

The School does not organise open days, but any events organised by employers may be advertised in the events section of our website.

If, as an employer, you wish to do this, please email the following details to

  • date
  • time
  • contact details
  • any other relevant information

How we recruit to the Scientist Training Programme

The STP is recruited through a national selection process using longlisting, shortlisting and interviews.

Recruitment takes place annually and opens for applications from around January, for trainees to start in the following September. Once confirmed, the recruitment timeline and deadline dates are made available on the website.  These dates can be subject to change, so must be checked regularly.

Direct entry applicants can apply for one specialty (preference) and can indicate ranked sub-preferences for as many locations/employers as there are available.  Our website shows the locations and specialties/themes of all available training posts. This information is updated regularly to reflect any changes to commissions that occur during the application process.

The STP application consists of:

  • an online application form in which applicants provide information about meeting the person specification for the programme, including qualifications, experience and motivation
  • an online situational judgement test which evaluates core skills needed for the programme. Applicants must score within the required threshold for their application to be put forward for shortlisting.

Following longlisting, applications scoring over the required threshold in the SJT are reviewed by shortlisters against the requirements of the person specification.  Successfully shortlisted applications are ranked using an algorithm in the Oriel system, which takes account of their scores and the applicant’s selected preference for location.  This produces:

  • a list of applicants allocated to individual employers
  • a reserve list of applicants who may be called to interview if a post remains unfilled.

The allocation process (that is, the process of allocating individual applicants to prospective employers) is managed nationally and is informed by the preferences applicants express as part of their application. We make every effort to match the successful applicants with their preferred employer.

The employer then conducts an interview to confirm, or otherwise, the appointment of the applicant they have been allocated.

Once allocations are confirmed, we pass trainee details to the employers to complete their employment processes and issue the trainee(s) with a contract of employment.


Roles and responsibilities in the recruitment process

Commissioners and employers

Local HEE commissioners liaise with the employers in their area to scope demand. Employers who wish to provide a training post will then submit their expression of interest to the commissioners.

Employers who submit an expression of interest must:

  • Nominate one or more member(s) of staff (per post) to take part in both the shortlisting and interview processes. This does not have to include the Head of Department. We would particularly encourage you to put forward clinical scientists and Higher Specialist Scientist Training trainees to participate in recruitment.
  • Notify us of any changes in contact details.
  • Ensure any internal recruitment processes for posts are instigated as soon as the post(s) has been confirmed by the HEE Local Team.
  • Ensure their HR department is engaged from the beginning of the process, and aware of the national process.

National School of Healthcare Science

We communicate all information about the recruitment process through our website, and we communicate directly with our stakeholders involved in the process.