Specialised Foundation Programme

Academic Foundation Programme- now rebadged as Specialised Foundation Programme (SFP)

Entry for 2-Year Specialised FP posts in our region is also via the annual national FP applications process overseen by the  UK Foundation Programme Office. The individual job descriptions can be found below and applications for SFPs can only be made via the national Foundation Programme website and applicants must apply through the Oriel recruitment system. The application window is the same as the application window for FP and applicants will be invited to express an interest in applying for SFP during completion of the national application on Oriel.

Applicants choosing to apply for SFP will need to submit separate applications (up to a maximum of two) in addition to their FP application form. Once the national application process has closed (on the 22nd September) the Northern Foundation School will begin their local recruitment processes to shortlist and interview applicants for SFPs.

The Northern Foundation School currently has 21 2-Year Integrated Specialised Foundation Programmes (SFP):

  • 12 based at The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • 3 based at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 
  • 3 based at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
  • 2 based at North Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 
  • 1 based at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust

The AFP Lead for the Northern Foundation School is Dr Gillian Vance who can be contacted via email or by telephone (via the Clinical Academic Office) on 0191 2228851. The Clinical Academic Office (CAO) website can be found here.

Key Dates for 2022 Specialised Foundation Recruitment

  • Vacancies are available to view on the Oriel recruitment system by 29th August 2021
  • Registration opens on Oriel between 1st - 8th September 2021
  • Applications open on Oriel from 8th September and close at 12 noon (BST) on 22nd September 2021.
  • Candidates will be notified week commencing 29th November whether they have been shortlisted.
  • Interview dates are Monday 13th- Wednesday 15th December via MS TEAMS.
  • Offers will be made on 12th January 2022 via the Oriel recruitment system. Candidates must accept or decline the offer on Oriel within 48 hours.
  • From 19th January 2022 cascading of any remaining AFP posts offered.


Further information on the white space questions when applying for SFP

The Northern Foundation School requests that all of the white space questions on Oriel are answered. Please click here for a copy of the questions that are on Oriel. Please click on both the  Research and Education and Teaching under Programme Interests

Further information on our local shortlisting and interview process

Applications for an academic foundation post at the Northern Foundation School will be assessed against the national person specification. CVs will not be accpeted as part of this process.

Applicants who are invited to interview will be assessed and scored on the day. Interview slots are pre-booked via Oriel. At the interview the panel will ask both academic and clinical questions. Panels score each applicant and the scores are aggregated. The applicant has to meet the clinical standards as set out in the person specification and  weighting is given to the academic score and applicants are ranked on overall score. The interviews will be held virtually via MS TEAMS. Full details of the interview process and timings will be communicated to shortlisted applicants when they are invited to interview.

There are no alternative interview dates.

Following the interview, applicants will be awarded a final score, this  score will be used in conjunction with an applicant’s preferences to determine allocation.

Please refer to the national policy on claiming expenses to attend academic interviews which can be viewed here


It is the applicant’s responsibility to allow enough time to register, enrol and apply within the application window. The foundation school cannot be held responsible for those who miss a deadline if they have chosen to leave completing their FP/SFP application until the last minute. 

All SFP offers will be made from 19th January 2022.  Successful applicants will have the opportunity to accept/decline offers on Oriel by the stated deadlines.  Applicants applying for SFP who are not successful in obtaining an SFP offer by the close of SFP recruitment will automatically transfer to standard FP recruitment. Full details of the national application process and timeline, including the 2022 national person specification can be found on the UKFPO website.

Ranking your SFP Preferences

Please rank all of the programmes you wish to be considered for, in order of preference, under the "Preference" column by using the drag and drop function on Oriel. Any programmes you do not wish to be considered for should remain in the "Not Wanted" column. The more programmes you preference, the greater the likelihood of being offered a programme of your choice, if you are successful at interview. We recommend you rank as many of our SFP Posts as possible to increase your opportunity for a place, but this is entirely your choicePlease note: SFP preferences can now be altered after the 22nd September 2021 application deadline up to 6 January 2022, 12.00 noon (GMT).

For all recruitment enquiries, please email Foundation recruitment

Why apply for a specialised foundation programme?

The programme is run jointly by Newcastle University and the Northern Foundation School and is a fully integrated two year research-based Academic Foundation Programme. Trainees on the AFP have one protected four month academic rotation in F1 and the same in F2. Whilst working as an AFP doctor, trainees are employed for the full two years by the same Trust.

Academic programmes are trainee-centred. With guidance from the AFP Programme Director, trainees are encouraged to seek a supervisor to join or develop a project in the subject area of their interest. Projects can be predominately in clinical based research with patient contact, more translational-based research using patient samples and investigating them in a laboratory environment or basic science research based predominately in a laboratory. Clinical exposure and experiences are encouraged during the academic period.

Trainees are mentored by a Clinical Academic who acts as the Academic Supervisor throughout the two year programme.

As an honorary member of University staff during the programme, trainees have the opportunity to attend postgraduate lectures from any of the taught courses within the Faculty of Medical Sciences.

Most trainees are able to produce at least one abstract from their academic period to present at a national or international meeting. Many have co-authored manuscripts which have been published, and many are successful in obtaining an Academic Clinical Fellow post, within the region or nationally, on completion of the AFP programme.

Informal enquiries to the AFP Director are encouraged before applying for a post, and help and advice can be given in finding and contacting a supervisor in the desired area of interest. Informal visits can be arranged and are encouraged.

Examples of recent publications by our AFP trainees:

More information on being a specialised foundation trainee from Find Your Place

Options after Academic Foundation Training

Our Academic Clinical Fellowships (ACFs) provide an exciting opportunity for individuals interested in an academic career to combine clinical and academic training. Further information can be found here. 

Academic Clinical Lectureship (ACL) are availble to trainees that are currently engaged in specialist training and have a PhD or equivalent and further information can be found here.

Further Information

Our AFP Lead is Dr Gillian Vance who can be emailed here or you can contact the Foundation School Foundation recruitment if you have any queries about our academic foundation programme.

Useful links