How long is the programme?

The Topol Digital Fellowship is approximately 12 months in length. There will be regular learning sessions, talks from digital health practitioners and online community drop-in sessions scheduled throughout the 12 months plus additional opportunities across the digital healthcare arena.

Programme components

At the core of the Topol Fellowship programme is the protection of time over 12 months for the Topol Fellow to work on a digital change project in their workplace.

When an applicant succeeds in becoming a Topol Fellow, HEE will provide:

  • A £15,000 bursary paid to the fellow’s employer to be used as they wish to support the fellow to conduct their digital health project
  • An initial, face-to-face learning and networking day at the beginning of the programme
  • A comprehensive programme of half-day online workshops
  • A series of lunch-and-learn events
  • Ongoing support and mentoring for fellows from subject matter experts
  • Invitations for current fellows to three masterclass events alongside alumni of the fellowship programme
  • An online course about the possible applications of AI and Machine Learning in healthcare comprising live webinars and self-directed online learning
  • A face-to-face showcase and networking day celebrating the fellow’s achievements in digital healthcare at the close of the programme.

In return for the above, the fellow’s employer must:

  • Ensure that the fellow is given dedicated, protected time to conduct the work of their digital change project. We expect a minimum of 0.2 WTE to be protected but recommend that 0.4 WTE is fully protected. This protected time is mandatory for the completion of the fellowship and the receipt of the bursary. However, the programme is flexible as to how this time is taken over the 12 months of the programme.
  • Ensure that the £15,000 is ringfenced and used to support to fellow to carry out their project. The bursary can be used however is felt necessary to support the Topol Fellow’s project. For example, it could be used to fund backfill or investment in technology or administrative support.
  • Ensure that the fellow’s project has a named project sponsor who will champion and support the fellow within their organisation.

To support the design and delivery of fellows’ projects, the programme will support and stimulate fellows to explore a range of digital transformation techniques. 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, and on researching user needs rather than identifying solutions to problems.

Pastoral support

In order to support the Topol Fellows a number of pastoral support provisions have been put in place to guide them through the programme. This support comes from a variety of places and as adult learners there is an expectation that they will navigate through the options as appropriate to their own needs. The role of the programme is to ensure that there is an adequate number of routes to support offering a range of interventions. 

 Programme team support 

  • Two 1:1 review sessions through the programme – this is a structured, compulsory meeting with a member of the programme team, acting as a check-in for fellows
  • 1:1 support meetings – available at the request of the fellow to explore a specific issue 
  • Opportunities to feed back formally to the Topol Fellowship Steering Group via the Topol Fellow Representatives on the group 

 Programme delivery partner support 

  • Two drop-in sessions following each learning activity – fellows have the opportunity to join a group drop-in session and discuss anything the wish relating to the programme content 
  • 1:1 support meetings – available at the request of the fellow to explore a specific issue 

 Mentoring and coaching 

  • Access to Alumni and professionals within the HEE Digital Readiness Programme  

 Peer support 

  • Slack – a facilitated online community offering a platform for sharing information, interaction and communication 
  • Peer groups – regional groups have been established to enable face-to-face meetings and support for those who prefer a peer led approach 

 Ongoing quality improvement 

  • Evaluation of the effectiveness of the programme is continuous to ensure it meets the needs of the NHS and the individual learners 
  • Fellows have the opportunity to contribute to this evaluation and shape the future of the programme 

How do I complete my fellowship?

The Topol Digital Fellowship does not require full implementation of a digital change project as an outcome from the programme. It is acknowledged that all projects have different timelines and phases of implementation. Completion of the programme will be demonstrated through the appropriate use of the protected time and the allocated bursary, via which the project will be expected to have moved forward, and attendance at all the mandatory programme sessions.

Hear from Topol Fellows and Alumni

In these videos Topol Fellows and Alumni discuss their projects and experiences.

Watch the videos.