Higher Specialist Scientist Training (HSST) Programme

A five-year workplace-based doctoral training programme for clinical scientists

Oak Road entrance to The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

What is the HSST programme?

The Higher Specialist Scientific Training Programme (HSST) is a five-year workplace-based training programme, supported by a Doctoral level academic award.

The HSST programme is designed for registered and experienced clinical scientists with ambitions to become future consultants. The programme provides opportunities for clinical scientists to train to become eligible to apply for available consultant clinical scientific posts.

A student in a laboratory

How to apply

To apply for the HSST programme, you need to be registered as a clinical scientist with the Health and Care Professions Council.

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.

There are two routes to apply for a HSST post:

  • In-service: to apply for this route, you must be employed by the NHS as a clinical scientist. You will remain employed by your current employer, and continue to receive your annual salary, throughout the five-year programme. To be eligible for this route, you must be nominated by your employer who has an allocated training post in place.
  • Direct entry: to apply for this route, you must be employed as a clinical scientist outside of the NHS. If selected, you will follow the programme full-time for five years under a fixed-term training contract with your host organisation.

For more information on the application process, visit the National School of Healthcare Science website.


Further details

Professor Karen Kirkby is Deputy Director of the Manchester Academy for Healthcare Scientist Education (MAHSE) Higher Scientific Specialist Scientist Training (HSST) Programme and is responsible for approximately 350 trainees. Professor Kirkby is a Programme Director for the Physical Sciences component comprising approximately 120 trainees.

Alongside producing a doctoral level research project, trainees undertake taught modules (at level 8) and leadership and management courses (Business School).

To find out more about potential opportunities, contact Professor Karen Kirkby.

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Fees and funding

Health Education England (HEE) covers the academic tuition fees for all clinical scientists undertaking a HSST post.

Whether you apply for direct entry or an in-service HSST post, you will receive an annual salary set by your employer for the duration of the five-year programme.

Your employer is also awarded funding to cover the costs of the doctoral training programme and any other training costs.

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