Application Process


The application window for Cohort 4 of the Digital Health Leadership programme has now closed and applicants in England will receive their outcomes w/c 28 June. Cohort 4 delegates will commence their learning in September 2021.

Please use this form to apply and send your questions and queries to

Applications for candidates based in England were open from 1 April 2021 and closed on 4 May 2021. As well as an online application form, we also provided a downloadable version in Microsoft Word format so individuals could complete ‘offline’ and use for discussions with their executive sponsors. This contains the shortlisting criteria so that our scoring is transparent.

We expect to complete longlisting and shortlisting throughout May, and to start notifying individuals of the outcome by the end of June. As we open the application window, we will update the exact outcome date to manage expectations.

Our application process for Cohort 4 is based on the application form. For future cohorts we will be looking to introduce other steps to continue building on our inclusive and transparent recruitment commitment.

All candidates will receive meaningful feedback, whether you were successful or not. We will also provide signposting ideas and advice for those who do not get a place, as there are lots of great resources available.

For successful candidates, you will then go onto complete an admissions and an onboarding process. Cohort 4 will commence in September 2021.

How do we assess applications?

The Digital Readiness programme has undertaken a review of the application process for Cohorts 1 to 3 working closely with incumbent supplier Imperial College London.  We are committed to taking a more inclusive recruitment approach, ensuring those from underrepresented groups have the best chance of making a successful application.  You can read our inclusive recruitment report which summarises our key findings and the full interventions we have implemented for Cohort 4 to improve the process for this year.

The review identified a number of improvements we have adopted for Cohort 4 alongside further interventions for future cohorts to make the application and selection process more inclusive. While a large focus for Cohort 4 has been to attract individuals from underrepresented groups to apply, this also partly relates to how we will assess your applications to make the process more objective. All assessors will be appropriately trained on the assessment criteria, applications will be independently shortlisted twice and all applications will be anonymised in a bid to reduce bias. We will continuously monitor and evaluate this process to ensure we are being transparent and effective. We hope that alongside additional support (including webinars with key groups) we will encourage a diverse range of individuals to apply for Cohort 4.

When we conduct an independent evaluation on the NHS Digital Academy, this will include an independent review of our updated recruitment processes. In addition, the application form will include an appendix advising candidates of the scoring criteria so individuals are not having to guess what they need to demonstrate.

What if I am unsuccessful?

We commit to offering individual meaningful feedback to all candidates, as we recognise how important this is for professional development.

The NHS Digital Academy is often over-subscribed and we do not want to demotivate people or force them to reapply next year if they are meeting the requirements of the programme. We will be looking to develop a waiting list for future cohorts and as per previous years, we will maintain a reserve list.

Individuals who do not meet the requirements for the programme will be signposted to alternative opportunities. These may include our own developing programmes or, depending on your needs, we may signpost you to open access learning, your local skills development network or other networks.