Specialised Foundation Programmes (SFP) in the South West

The recruitment process for two year Specialised Foundation Programmes commencing August 2024 opens in September. For more information, the UKFPO Applicant’s Guide is available on the UKFPO website. Recruitment will be managed via the national online recruitment system, Oriel. For 2024 SFP recruitment the South West will be one Specialised Unit of Application (SUoAs), for both Severn and Peninsula Foundation Schools, with posts in each school. Within your Oriel application you can select up to a maximum of two SUoAs.

20 Posts (Severn and Peninsula)

Oriel Vacancy ID


Research Programmes

6 x Research Foundation Programmes based at North Bristol NHS Trust
9 x Research Foundation Programmes based at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust
2 x Research Foundation Programmes based at Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (EXETER)
3 x Research Foundation Programmes based at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust

Severn Research Programmes

The Severn Foundation School and the University of Bristol offer 15 Specialised Foundation Programmes (SFPs). Our research opportunities are unbundled from the clinical rotations allowing successful applicants to competitively select the most suitable combination of research area and clinical rotation. There are a wide variety of research opportunities encompassing a range of academic subjects.

The programmes are based in either North Bristol NHS Trust (Southmead Hospital) or University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (Bristol Royal Infirmary/Weston General Hospital). The F1 year will allow the newly qualified doctor to gain experience in a range of clinical placements. The F2 year comprises an academic block of four months, during which the F2 doctor will undertake a research project and continue with one day per week clinical work. For the remaining 8 months of the F2 year, doctors will undertake more specialised medical training, e.g. General Practice, ITU/Critical Care, whilst continuing 1 day per week of academic work. During the F2 year doctors will also attend the Research Methods course designed specifically for this programme.

Information about Specialised Foundation Programmes in Severn

Peninsula Exeter Research Programmes

These posts will be of particular interest to those aspiring to an academic career, but the research skills will be generic and the experience of benefit to anyone with an interest in health and health service research.

Each programme starts with a generic clinical F1 year comprising 3x4 month rotations. In F2, the pattern is for 2x6 months clinical posts with time allocated either in-week or in separate clinical/specialised weeks depending on the type of specialised programme. One of the 6-month posts may be pre- determined by the trust and there is some choice for the second clinical post.

Wide ranging research possibilities exist through the University of Exeter Medical School.  Each research foundation trainee has the opportunity to preference their research area, such as Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Mental Health, Environment and Human Health, Dementia and Ageing, Evidence synthesis and modelling for health improvement, Primary Health Care, or Diabetes.

Research Opportunities available at University of Exeter for Foundation Doctors

Peninsula Plymouth Research Programmes

SFP trainees will undergo a standard FY1 clinical rotation. In FY2, the trainee will have 4-month clinical placements in Renal Medicine and General Practice and a 4-month academic placement undertaking research as described below. The programme is designed to provide experience of a clinical academic environment and to develop generic research skills. This will suit both those interested in pursuing a clinical academic career and those interested in applying research skills to improve patient care in their clinical practice. 

The Plymouth SFP programme in F1 will include a four month post in Acute Internal Medicine/General Surgery (Vascular) and Emergency Medicine and in F2 it will be Academic/Renal Medicine and General Practice.   

Plymouth Research Job Description


Information about Specialised Foundation Programmes in the Peninsula

Research Shortlisting

Due to the unprecedented number of applications we have received and our interviewing capacity we have had to set a minimum shortlisting score of 20/42.  All applicants will have to have met this minimum standard to progress to the next stage of the recruitment process. This does not mean that if you score 20 you will be offered an interview.

Shortlisting for Severn and Peninsula's Research programmes will be carried out for all applicants using Educational Achievements (Additional Degrees, Presentations, Prizes and Publications) and the following White Space Questions:

  • Career Goals
  • Programme interests - You must select Research and explain your rationale for your choice of programme
  • Research - you must complete the question 'Please outline your previous research experience and achievements' in addition to the programme interest above. 

Applicants will score points for additional degrees, prizes, publications and presentations. Please ensure you answer all the white space questions above. If you do not answer a question you will not be scored for it and will lose valuable marks. The aim of the white space questions is for the shortlister to assess the applicant’s experience of research and rationale for going into an SFP. 

Research Interviews

Interviews for Severn and Peninsula's Research programmes will be held virtually via an online video conferencing platform. NHS England South West does not offer telephone interviews.

The interviews for Research will be held on:

Friday 10th November 2023

The Severn and Peninsula Foundation Schools will hold interviews for all 20 Specialised Foundation posts on this date and no alternatives will be offered. Each candidate will be interviewed by a single panel of clinicians and academics assessing clinical, communication and academic skills. 

Disability Confident Scheme

Under the Disability Confident Scheme, we guarantee to interview anyone with a disability whose application meets the minimum criteria for the post. By ‘minimum criteria’ we mean that you must provide evidence in your application form which demonstrates that you generally meet the level of competence required, as well as meeting any of the qualifications, skills or experience defined as essential in the South West SFP Person Specification.

We are committed to the employment and career development of disabled people. If you tell us that you are disabled, we can make reasonable adjustments at each stage of the recruitment and selection process and, if you later progress to employment, to where and how you work. If you wish to apply under the scheme, please indicate this in the Disability and special arrangements question in the Personal section of the application form. We will try to provide access, equipment or other practical support to ensure that if you have a disability you can compete on equal terms, regardless of disability.

Preferencing Information

The Programme Preferencing window for Research vacancies opens on 20th September 2023 and closes on 13th October 2023 at 12:00 midday (BST). LATE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED

Please ensure you rank only the programmes you are genuinely interested in and would accept if offered.

Offers Process

Following all local interviews, the national offer process begins on 10th January 2024.

Successful candidates will receive an email from Oriel with an offer of an specialised foundation programme. 

Applicants have two working days to accept or reject any offer(s) made to them. If the applicant does not accept or reject the offer within this period, it will be assumed they have rejected the offer and it will be withdrawn.

A cascade process will be run until 9th February 2024 to appoint to any unfilled SFP vacancies. Applicants should refer to the full timeline in the UKFPO applicant handbook.

SFP Recruitment Timeline

Programmes commencing August 2024


12th September 2023 Registration on Oriel opens at 09:00. Applicants can register at any time during the application window until 12:00 noon (BST) on 4th October 2023. Eligibility Office applicants will have already registered as part of the eligibility application process.
20th September 09:00 – 4th October 2023 at 12:00 midday (BST) National application period: complete the online FP application form for FP, FPP and SFP. Please note SFP applicants can apply to a maximum of 2 SUoAs
20th September –13th October 2023 at 12:00 midday (BST) Specialised Foundation Programme preferencing window
Friday 10th November 2023 Interviews for Research posts (Severn and Peninsula)
10th January 2024 SFP national offers. Successful SFP applicants will receive offers. All offers must be accepted or declined on Oriel by the stated deadline. Applicants will have 48 hours to respond to offers
17th January – 9th February 2024 Cascade SFP national offers. Successful SFP applicants will receive offers. All offers must be accepted or declined on Oriel by the stated deadline. Applicants will have 48 hours to respond to offers.
10th January – 9th February 2024 Window to request interview feedback.