Section menu

Report on the STP Improvement Review published

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

In September 2017 the NSHCS commissioned a research consultancy, AlphaPlus, to conduct a review of the Scientist Training Programme (STP). The aim of the review was to understand and respond to stakeholder comments that the design and delivery features of the STP could be improved.

AlphaPlus conducted a three-phase review, and consulted approximately 1,100 STP stakeholders, comprising current and former trainees, training officers and other senior healthcare scientists, Health Education England Healthcare Science Leads, university representatives and professional bodies.

The review has produced a number of findings and key recommendations that are detailed fully in the STP Improvement Review Final Report. Download the report (1Mb PDF file)

In very brief summary, the recommendations of the review are as follows:

  1. There is a need to incorporate greater flexibility in how STP training is delivered.
  2. The provision of training by the NSHCS for training officers, workplace-based assessors and reviewers, and OSFA assessors, while satisfactory, should be improved in order to achieve better consistency of experience and outcomes for all STP trainees.
  3. Specialist competencies should be reviewed and rewritten, or reconceptualised, as required, to ensure they reflect current scientific practice and are clear to trainees and training officers.
  4. Rotations should be reviewed with a view to ensuring they have educational value, are deliverable, and flexible. This has several elements, with a need to review rotation content, choice, organisation, duration and assessment. 
  5. There is a need to identify ways of improving the coordination of academic and workplace learning,
  6. There is a need to support the development of training consortia and regional-based approaches to training.
  7. There is a need to review and improve the consistency of learner experience across the programme.

The NSHCS would like to thank AlphaPlus, all the contributors to the NSHCS Steering Group, and, mostly, all the STP stakeholders who gave their time to participate in the interviews, focus groups and survey.

The NSHCS is discussing the recommendations with the three scientific Themed Boards in June 2018 to identify the priority actions to improve the design and delivery of the STP. Further stakeholder consultation may also be planned at this stage.

The NSHCS will feed back on all actions resulting from the review via the school newsletter, website, and Twitter.

If you have any questions or comments about the review and the next steps, please email the school at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Download the STP Improvement Review final report (1Mb PDF file)

Download the STP Improvement Review Appendix (770 Kb PDF file). This presents additional findings from the online survey that are not presented in the body of the main report.