General Information

Using the information pack

The HSST Section C information pack is intended to give an introduction to the research phase (Section C) of the DClinSci, to identify key processes and to signpost Clinical Scientists towards relevant information.  Members of staff from the MAHSE team will be pleased to answer queries and/or to put Clinical Scientists in touch with the relevant contacts/source of information.

Clinical Scientists should be aware that:

  • The university awarding the DClinSci, will take the lead in the research process.
  • Clinical Scientists will be subject to the regulations, policies and research governance processes in place at the university that is awarding the DClinSci qualification. *
  • Clinical Scientists should refer to local handbooks within their host university for policies, regulations and procedures (see key resources below).

Key resources:

The University of Manchester:

Manchester Metropolitan University:

*A list of the accredited providers for each specialism is available via the MAHSE website.

MAHSE reserves the right to make appropriate amendments or additions to guidelines contained in this information pack throughout the duration of the research phase; should this happen you will be notified of the change in writing.

Introduction to Research

Depending on the HSST pathway you’re taking, you will either:

1. Undertake a Research Project (if you are completing the full DClinSci).
2. Submit an extended innovation proposal and give a lay talk (if you are not completing the full DClinSci due to completing FRCPath Part 2 or obtaining approval for a prior PhD).

Screening of Research Proposals

HSST trainees will need to complete a project pro-forma during Year 2 regardless of whether you are completing the full DClinSci or not; the pro-forma will be evaluated by an appropriate member of academic staff at the relevant university.  The pro-forma should be completed at least three months in advance of commencement of the proposed research.

Please note that for some Life Sciences trainees, the Research Project pro-forma will need approval by the relevant Panel Chair of the Royal College of Pathologists. This will be required where Clinical Scientists intend to use their DClinSci thesis to meet the requirement for the research component of the FRCPath Part 2.

Completing the full DClinSci - Research Project (270 credits)

At the beginning of Year 3 you will start your research project, and you will be required to do a literature review and a lay talk during Year 3 on your Research Project.

You will also be expected to do a brief innovation proposal, which will be included as a chapter in your thesis. This is required for the equivalence route to gain access to the HSSR (Higher Specialist Scientist Register).

During Year 5 of the programme, you will submit your doctoral thesis which should be prepared and bound in accordance with the regulations for your awarding university (please see the “Resources and Policies” tab for further information).

Not completing the full DClinSci - Innovation in Clinical Science (70 credits)

Clinical Scientists not completing the full DClinSci will submit an extended innovation proposal and give a lay talk on their proposed innovation during Year 3 of the programme. This provides clinical scientists with the knowledge, understanding and skills to undertake an innovation in the NHS.

The extended innovation proposal will include an introduction which will explain the background to the area, the current issues and the evidence that the proposed innovation is valuable. The overall written submission will comprise the introduction (4000 words) and the innovation proposal (5 pages).

The purpose of this extended innovation proposal will be to demonstrate that Clinical Scientists have an understanding of the processes required to complete research applications in the NHS. This is required for the equivalence route to gain access to the HSSR (Higher Specialist Scientist Register), and it cannot be assumed that HSST trainees meet the criteria through FRCPath Part 2 (as some do not contain a research element) or through a prior PhD (as this may not have been in a relevant area or may not have been undertaken when working in the NHS).

Trainees who are not completing the full DClinSci will complete Section C by then end of Year 3 (although they still may have additional Section A/B teaching in subsequent years).

How will I be supported?

MAHSE and the partner universities are aware that the DClinSci is a demanding process and Clinical Scientists may need a range of networks to ensure that they are supported adequately. A brief outline of those involved in the HSST programme is given below.

HSST academic leads: The HSST academic leads will have oversight of the research process and will liaise with the relevant specialist pathway lead regarding evaluation of research proposals and allocation of academic supervisors.

Name E-mail Area of expertise
Karen Kirkby MAHSE Deputy Director (HSST) and Lead for UoM
Llwyd Orton HSST Lead for ManMet
Programme director role: Each specialist DClinSci pathway has a lead academic or Programme Director, who has academic expertise in the specialist area. During the research component, the Pathway Lead/Programme Director will provide advice and expertise to assist the HSST Lead in evaluating the research proposal and appointing an academic supervisor. If you are unsure who your Pathway Lead/Programme Director is, please email
Academic supervisor role: The academic supervisor is appointed by the University and will be your main contact with the University during the research component (Section C) of the DClinSci. The academic supervisor will have expertise in your scientific specialism and will advise on the academic content and standard of the project.
Workplace supervisor role: The workplace supervisor is likely to be someone you already know well as a senior colleague in your discipline. They will have clinical expertise in your scientific specialism and will be able to support and advise on the planning and day to day progress of your research and provide clinical context for the work.
Administrative support
Manchester Metropolitan University Administrators: The Graduate School can be contacted via
University of Manchester Administrators: The Doctoral Academy can be contacted via:
MAHSE Manager: The MAHSE Manager is Kate Smith:
MAHSE HSST Administrator: The MAHSE HSST Administrator can be contacted via

Please note that is the email address for Section A only and should not be used for queries relating to other aspects of the programme. If you are unsure of who to contact, please email in the first instance.

Further information on the typical roles and responsibilities of the academic supervisor, workplace supervisor and students are give below, along with links to key University policies on supervision.  Roles and responsibilities may vary slightly across the different Higher Education Institutions (if in doubt, please check with your respective HSST lead).

Roles and responsibilities of the Academic supervisor

The academic supervisor will carry out the roles and responsibilities expected of a main supervisor at the relevant Universities. Full details of these responsibilities can be found as detailed below.

In particular, for the DClinSci the academic supervisor will be expected to carry out the following tasks:

  • Advise on the nature and standard of the research and give help with the research planning process.
  • Liaise with the workplace supervisor to ensure the student receives support and advice as needed.
  • Maintain regular contact with the student and workplace supervisor – it is recognised that frequency of contact will vary according to the type and stage of the project. However, a reasonable expectation is that contact (in person, via Skype, by video conferencing, by phone or by email) will occur every two-four weeks and that at least one face-to-face meeting takes place in each year of the project.
  • Record and monitor progress of the student in the University’s progression monitoring system.
  • Provide feedback and suggest revisions to the project proposal.
  • Give feedback on written work drafts in a timely manner as agreed between the student and supervisory team. Note that in relation to the final thesis, the supervisor’s opinion is only advisory and the student has the right to decide when to submit and whether to follow the advice of the supervisor.
  • Ensure the student and workplace supervisor are made aware when progress is not satisfactory and give guidance on how to improve progress.
  • Support the student in relation to research governance processes relevant to their project.
  • Appoint internal and external examiners for the final thesis, after consultation with the student and the workplace supervisor. All examiner appointments must be in accordance with the Doctoral Degree examination policy of the relevant University.
  • Ensure the student is aware of University resources for support and advice.

UoM: Supervision policy for postgraduate research degrees

ManMet: The Manchester Metropolitan University Research Degrees Handbook includes information on the responsibilities of the supervisory team and of the student and is accessed via the Graduate School website

Roles and responsibility of workplace supervisor

The Workplace supervisor will be the Clinical Scientist’s main day to day point of contact for Section C. In particular the workplace supervisor will be expected to undertake the following duties:

  • Advise on the nature and standard of the research and give help with the research planning process.
  • Liaise with the academic supervisor to ensure the student receives support and advice as needed – via Skype, email or face-to-face where feasible.
  • Ensure appropriate resources are available in the clinical setting to support the research project.
  • Ensure the student is given sufficient dedicated time away from clinical duties to undertake and complete the research.
  • Provide timely feedback on written drafts as appropriate.
  • Liaise with student and academic supervisor to ensure progress is satisfactory. Workplace supervisors will have access to the UoM student progression monitoring system, ManMet uses paper based forms to monitor progression.
  • Support the student in relation to research governance processes relevant to their project.

Roles and responsibilities of student

The DClinSci is a research degree and it is essential that students take responsibility for their own personal and professional development throughout the degree. The universities’ supervision policies set out the expected responsibilities of a research student. Full details can be found as below.

In particular the student is expected to:

  • Be proactive in arranging supervisory meetings and informing supervisors when work has been submitted for review. It is suggested that Clinical Scientists inform their academic supervisor when they will attending the University for teaching as this may allow face-to-face meetings.
  • Maintain regular contact with academic and workplace supervisors. Frequency of meetings will vary according to the type and stage of research but a normal expectation would be for supervisory meetings (face-to-face, Skype, videoconferencing, phone or email) to take place every two-four weeks and that one face-to-face meeting occurs in each year of the research project.
  • Prepare adequately for supervision meetings.
  • Maintain up to date progression records and meet planning and submission deadlines.
  • Make supervisors aware of any specific needs or of any circumstances likely to affect their work, and be proactive in raising issues or difficulties as they arise.
  • Accept ultimate responsibility for his/her own research activity.

UOM: PGR Handbook

ManMet: The Manchester Metropolitan University Research Degrees Handbook includes information on the responsibilities of the supervisory team and of the student and is accessed via the Graduate School website.

Resources and policies

A high degree of independent learning is required within the DClinSci programme. Clinical Scientists will be guided and directed to appropriate reading/sources by academic and work-based supervisors.

Clinical Scientists will be given access to relevant online course unit material, by their host university throughout the research phase:

The University of Manchester

Online units are offered by Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Centre for Academic Researcher Development (CARD).

There are no compulsory units, but it is expected that, using the Vitae researcher development skills framework as a guide, Clinical Scientists will identify personal areas for development and access the appropriate modules.

Clinical Scientists based at The University of Manchester can access Skills Training Resources via Canvas.  The online space provides information and links to resources on: Research Methods, Academic Writing, Presentation Skills, Statistics Key Concepts, SPSS, Understanding Academic Malpractice, Library Skills and Intellectual Property. Information will be provided regarding accessing this material.

Manchester Metropolitan University

Manchester Metropolitan University Graduate School includes essential reading/resources – students will also be directed to appropriate reading/resources by academic and workplace supervisors. Further reading/resources – full text electronic journals, online search tools, interlibrary loans. Statistical packages eg. SPSS,Minitab, ANALYZ-IT, MEDCALC

Manchester Metropolitan University also delivers a range of research skills and development workshops to support students.

Gaining ethical approval can be a lengthy and time consuming process. Clinical Scientists should check university and workplace procedures for ethical approval when planning research. It is your responsibility to ensure that adequate time is allowed for obtaining ethical approval. Clinical Scientists are advised to be proactive in discussing any problems with workplace and academic supervisors.


Research ethics is a world-wide set of principles governing the way any research involving interaction between the researcher and other humans or human tissue or data relating to humans, is designed, managed and conducted. In preparing a research project, the dignity, rights, safety and well-being of human participants must at all times be considered, respected and safeguarded.

For University of Manchester (UoM) students, it is expected that the Clinical Scientist’s Trust will act as the sponsor for research governance purposes. Guidance on ethical approval and governance sponsorship will be provided to Clinical Scientists and supervisors by UoM.

Information regarding ethics and ethical approval processes is available via each university website:

University of Manchester research ethics

Manchester Metropolitan University ethics and governance

IRAS (Integrated Research Application System)

Guidance on the submission and marking process will be provided by the host institution for your discipline. The independent assessment will be through the panel assessment of the oral presentation. The panel will include an academic chair (likely to be the Programme Lead), academic expert (representative of the NSHCS) and a lay representative.

Clinical Scientists will need to notify their respective university in advance of submitting their major research project (in accordance with university procedure) and follow any required guidelines for formatting, presentation and submission of work.

Notice of submission and presentation requirements

Clinical Scientists will normally be required to complete a notice of submission a minimum of six weeks and no more than six months before submission (for the C2 thesis). The notice of submission process is required to give universities adequate time to notify examiners. The process for notice of submission will be managed by the university to which the Clinical Scientist is submitting. Universities will normally require an electronic copy of the thesis, in addition to bound copies. Each university will be responsible for advising students on the submission process and guidelines for presentation.

University of Manchester thesis submission guidance
MMU thesis submission guidance (see the Research Degrees Handbook)

Requests for extension to submission deadlines

Guidance should be sought from the host institution for your DClinSci.

Clinical Scientists will be subject to a range of policies and regulations owned by the host institution. Information will be provided in local handbooks and websites.

General Policies Governing Research and Postgraduate Research Students

Below is a list of policies and regulations that are likely to impact on DClinSci students and it is recommended that Clinical Scientists ensure they are aware of the requirements or processes of their host institution.

  • Research Data Management – including data protection and data storage
  • Intellectual Property
  • Academic malpractice – including plagiarism
  • Research misconduct

University of Manchester ordinances and regulations for Professional, Engineering and Doctorate Degrees. There is also a University of Manchester PGR Code of Practice.

Manchester Metropolitan University regulations for academic awards.  Students at Manchester Metropolitan University may also wish to refer to the information on regulations, codes of practice and supporting material via the Graduate School website.

Social Media

Clinical Scientists who wish to use social media within their research may wish to refer to guidance from the International Centre for Guidance Studies