What will the programme look like for cohort 2?

The focus of the Topol Digital Fellowship Programme for cohort 2, will be to provide fellows with:

  1. the time to address a key problem in their organisation that might be solved via a digital health improvement and transformation project so that they develop experience as, and become known as, people that can champion digital change in clinical contexts.
  2. a coherent workshop programme that models a methodology of person-centred, agile, product and service development, following methods and standards being advised, developed and deepened by NHS Digital and NHSX
  3. continuous online access to a small group of subject experts for the duration of the programme to support fellows as they work on their projects
  4. connections to key national initiatives that can support their work
  5. promotion of their work as agents of digital change and opportunities to self-promote their work so that the wider healthcare system is exposed to the lessons being learned by the fellows about digital health transformation.

When will cohort 2 begin and how long will the programme last?

Cohort 2 will begin in January 2021 and the programme will last for 12 months.

Am I eligible to apply?

You must be a clinician working for an NHS organisation in England. You might be a nurse, a healthcare scientist, a doctor, an allied health professional, a dentist, a pharmacist or in another clinical role. You will either be in training or hold a permanent appointment in your organisation. If you are a clinician on AfC pay scales, you need to be band 6 or above. As a doctor or dentist in full time training you will have progressed past foundation training at the point at which you expect to start this fellowship in January 2020.

You must be employed by the NHS. The fellowships are open to people working in local provider and commissioner organisations as well as those working for Integrated Care Systems or national bodies such as Arms’ Length Bodies.

Do I need to apply with an already agreed project?

No you do not! You need to apply with a proposal that you will work to address a specific problem. You do not have to specify the solution to the problem in advance. As part of your application you will be invited to describe the problem you wish to work on and offer a hypothesis about how you might address that problem. Applications will be rated on the quality of applicants’ understanding of their problem.

The workshop programme will have a strong focus on people-centred development of products and services and it will start with a strong emphasis on understanding problems, on researching user needs rather than identifying solutions to problems. So, we do not necessarily need you to arrive on the programme with a predetermined solution to the problem you wish to work on.

However, you will be invited to describe the support and the networks and the collaborations that you plan to take advantage of as you explore the problem you will address in your protected time as a digital fellow. As part of your application you must identify a sponsor within your organisation senior enough to ensure your work will have appropriate support to maximise its chances of success.

What will I do as a Topol digital fellow?

You will be expected to stay in training or in your current role for at least half your working time. Your employer will be reimbursed for up to 40% of your time to free you to work to address the problem you have identified and hopefully then to work on the design and development of your digital health ‘solution’. In addition, you will be required to attend a compulsory series of 6 workshops throughout your year as a digital fellow, the first of which will be a 2-day residential workshop (coronavirus-permitting) and you will have access to ongoing support to help you to develop your digital health initiative. These combined experiences should help to prepare you to take the next steps in your digital health career.

Where will this lead?

The health and care system needs clinicians able to lead digital change. You will help to pioneer the creation of new career paths to senior change roles such as Chief Clinical Information Officer (CCIO) and its equivalent in social care. Having developed expertise as a champion of digital change, you will pave the way for others to follow.

Application guidance

British Association of Dermatologists partner with HEE Topol fellowships

The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) are pleased to partner with HEE to increase the number of Topol Fellowships available to Dermatology.

These posts are intended to develop successful applicants in digital leadership and technological literacy. Projects are invited for digital innovation in a dermatology setting. These proposals should describe the unmet need, local support for it and an outline of the proposed project delivery.  All proposals should focus on any aspect of AI or digital medicine as applicable to bioinformatics, diagnostics and pathway/training re-design and delivery.

These fellowships are open to all members of the BAD from across the 4 nations of the UK and are intended for delivery over 2 or 3 days a week for a 12 month period.  Block periods of study are not possible. Successful candidates will be appointed in line with the Topol scheme and benefit from the cross-specialty and multi-professional working that this offers. Appointed fellows in dermatology will also be part of the technology workstream part of the Education Unit at the British Association of Dermatologists. It is hoped that successful individuals will be the future digital champions of the specialty.