Update: 2023 Applications for NHS England PhD Data Science Internships

We're pleased to say, that after some delay, applications were opened on the 4th December with a closing date of midday on the 17th December 2023. Interviews will take place across the 8th to 12th January with the first projects starting in mid-Feb till early July.

Data Science Internships Overview


This scheme aims to connect NHS real data and issues with academic thought and research through short-term PhD internships. The benefit to the NHS is the added value that academia brings to evidence-based research but on timescales that allow the insights to be acted upon. For the student and university, the benefit is an avenue to conduct related research in an industrial environment and access to NHS data.

We are looking for PhD students working in a quantitative discipline but with an interest in applying their knowledge and gaining experience of creating solutions for the NHS. Both student and university will be funded during the duration of the internship covering between three and six months.

Our aim is to continually build on previous learning whilst having an avenue for including the latest research and approaches. Where possible we will work in an open and transparent way ensuring that learning is shared and insights made available for others to reproduce. At the end of the project the applicant will submit a final report suitable for publication in open literature, and presentations to NHS England on their results including their experience of the project. The nature of the output will depend on the specific project.

Key priorities of the internship will be:

  • Safe and appropriate use of NHS data
  • To producing a balanced outcome for both the student and NHS England, with useable outputs
  • To provide the student(s) with experience of completing a live business project
  • To provide the NHS with an avenue to experience current research and ideas
  • To kick-start or accelerate current projects and ideas
  • To build a long term programme with developing research areas

The Role

The successful candidate will occupy a permanent role within the Digital Analytics and Research Team (DART). During the internship the candidate will be expected to progress their chosen project autonomously with supervision from colleagues in the DART as well as their current academic supervisor. The candidate will be expected to be focussed on the project and self-driven during the internship period, providing regular updates on progress and issues.

Within the topic area of the chosen project, there will be some freedom to direct the development of the research and knowledge but this will also need to be balanced against creating a learning outcome or tangible output, that benefits the PhD scheme objectives and is in a shareable state for future projects to pick up and continue the development.

As the candidate will be a NHS England employee during the internship period, standard employment checks and some mandatory training are required.

A key aim for the intern will be to progress the research project ensuring learning/outcomes are shareable with NHS England and where appropriate made suitable for publication.


A list of currently available projects can be found on the DART site with links to project specific details on github. These projects are continually being added to and we welcome project proposals from both prospective students and interested organisations.

During the Project Period, the student will be allocated an NHS England supervisor and in some instances a project specific mentor. It is also required that an academic supervisor from the hosting university is identified before the student can accept the internship place.


For the entirety of the internship, the applicant would be paid as a NHS band 6 (spine point 1) post according to NHS Terms and Conditions (AfC) pay scales - Annual

Application Process

Eligibility criteria

Applicants will need:

  • to provide acceptable proof of legal right to study in the UK or ability to satisfy the current requirements of UK Visa and Immigration.
  • to be enrolled in a PhD programme in a qualitative field of study (such as mathematics, statistics, data engineering, computer science, data science, physics, …) during the course of the internship.
  • to provide a statement of current PhD supervisor support stating that 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


Please note all timelines for 2024 have been delayed by up to 2 months.

Applications Open - Early October

Applications Close - Early November

Interviews - Late November

Outcomes Communicated - Early December

January Wave Start - Mid-January

June Wave Start - Mid-June

How to Apply

Application links will be made available on the DART website between the open and close dates

As part of the application you will be asked to specify which project(s) you are interested in and any relevant experience in these areas.

Applications will be sifted using a set of sifting questions to ensure the candidate fulfils the minimum requirements for this role. Each question will be marked by three sifters using a score of 1 to 5. The sifters will not be able to see any other material the candidate has provided whilst marking each individual question so please ensure each answer doesn’t refer to other materials and that all information and evidence is self-contained in the question.

Interviews - The interviews will be conducted as a panel with competency based questions. During the interview process, candidates will be asked to provide further evidence of their interest, technical skill and experience. You will also be asked to provide a statement of support for the internship from your PhD supervisor.