Higher Specialist Scientist Training Programme - 2016 recruitment

NHS Higher Specialist Scientist Training is a quality assured five-year work-based and doctoral level programme for clinical scientists. Recruitment opens for the 2016 programme on Monday 29 February.

The programme ensures a future workforce supply of very senior clinical scientists who are eligible to apply for available consultant clinical scientist posts in specialist areas. 

Hands with lab equipment

How does it work?

The programme runs on a work-based education and training programme curricula in a number of specialisms including:

Additional specialisms are available in development, including clinical bioinformatics (genomics).

Getting in

HSST posts can be ‘direct entry’ by competitive appointment into a newly established HSST post, or ‘in-service’ – a reserved appointment in which the identified applicant is already in employment and is supported by their employers throughout the training.

Direct entry applicants: new posts created specifically for the purpose of training and open to competition by application. NHS employees wishing to access this entry route must be prepared to resign from their existing post if they are successful in gaining a place. Applicants follow the whole programme full-time (except for any exemptions) during which they hold a fixed-term five year training contract of employment with the host organisation.

In service applicants: existing clinical scientist posts are used by employers to support nominated individuals for higher specialist scientist training as long as they reach the entry standard for higher specialist scientist training. They must hold a substantive contract of employment in the NHS specialism for which they are applying.

To be eligible to apply for the HSST programme, you will need:

For full details, visit the National School of Healthcare Science (NSHCS) website.

Healthcare science specialisms available through HSST

It is important to check the NSHCS website for the most up-to-date list, but for 2016 entry, posts are likely to be available in the following specialisms:


If you are considering applying, it is important that you look at the information available on the NSHCS website before submitting an application. Go to the NSHCS website for information about specialisms and the training available for direct entrants.

Direct entry applicants

Go to the NSHCS website and click on How to Apply to access the online application portal.

In service applicants

Go to the NSHCS website to access the in service online application portal. You will need a code from your employer to commence your application form which the National School of Healthcare Science will supply the code to employing departments. 


Whether you’re a direct entry or in service applicant, you can apply between Monday 29 February and 5pm on Tuesday 29 March. No late applications will be accepted, so make sure you allow plenty of time to make an informed application.

There will be considerable competition for places.

All the information you need

For information about the HSST recruitment process and to apply, visit the NSHCS website where you will find a wealth of information including:

Good luck!

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