Transformation Directorate

Applying for an NHS England PhD Data Science internship

Applications for the next phase of the scheme (for placements in 2024) are open from 4th December 2023.

How to apply

There is an open recruitment to all eligible candidates for placements on the scheme starting in early 2024 - we intend to run two waves of the internship each year.

Any application will need to be accompanied by a supporting statement from your supervisor. As part of the application you'll be asked to specify which projects you’re interested in, detailing relevant experience in these areas.

Eligibility criteria

Students will:

  • need to provide proof of a legal right to study in the UK or satisfy the current requirements of UK Visa and Immigration
  • be enrolled on a PhD programme in a quantitative field of study (such as mathematics, statistics, data engineering, computer science, data science or physics) during the course of the internship
  • need a statement from the current PhD supervisor confirming the student is able to conduct this work alongside their study or that the student will take a break from their current funding whilst conducting this work
  • need a statement from the current PhD supervisor outlining their interest and willingness to support the student academically throughout the project alongside NHS England project supervisors

Assessment criteria

Skills and experience

Successful candidates should be able to demonstrate:

  • relevant experience in the project area as set out in the project brief
  • demonstrate an understanding of datasets and data sources including the quality and reliability of the data, preferably healthcare datasets
  • good understanding of analytical tools and is highly numerate
  • previous experience in a similar role in the public sector.
  • evidence of success in effective project and programme management
  • ability to use a range of coding tools, languages and analysis software
  • quality assurance, validation and data linkage abilities
  • ability to make complex and technical information and language simple and accessible for non-technical audiences
  • ability to work without supervision
  • able to work on own initiative, organising and prioritising own and others workloads to changing and often tight deadlines
  • an ability to maintain confidentiality and trust

Personal attributes

Successful candidates should be able to demonstrate:

  • commitment to and focused on quality, promoting high standards in all they do
  • adaptability, flexibility and ability to cope with uncertainty and change
  • able to make a connection between their work and benefits to patients and the public
  • consistently thinking how their work can support clinicians and frontline staff deliver better outcomes for patients
  • values diversity and difference operating with integrity and openness
  • works well with others, is positive, helpful, respects and learns from the contribution of others
  • consistently looks to improve what they do, seeks out innovation
  • actively develops themselves and supports others to do the same

Indicative timeline

Application opening date

Applications open on 4 December 2023

Application closing date

Applications closed on 17 December 2023

Panel interviews

Between 8 and 12 January 2024

Outcome communicated

Week commencing 15 January 2024

Internship start date

Week commencing 14 February 2024

Terms of appointment


PhD Intern


NHS England Central

Responsible to

Lead Data Scientist

Pay band

Band 6 Spine 1 - Agenda for Change


Temporary - 5 months




Applicant wage

For the duration of the internship, the student will be paid as an NHS band 6 (spine point 1) post, in accordance with Agenda for Change NHS Terms and Conditions (AfC) pay scales - Annual

Further information

If you need more information please contact