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).
University of Manchester:
Manchester Metropolitan University:
- Research Student Handbook
- Graduate School
- Centre for Academic Standards & Quality Enhancement (CASQE)
*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
The research component for the DClinSci (known as Section C) is divided into two parts.
C1 Innovation in Clinical Sciences (ICS) Project (70 credits)
Clinical Scientists will normally start C1 in Year 3 of the programme. C1 provides Clinical Scientists with the knowledge, understanding and skills to undertake an innovation in the NHS. The innovation project will involve:
- Completion of an innovation project pro-forma (which will be evaluated by the University and used to identify an appropriate academic supervisor).
- Completion of a mid-point progress report.
- Literature review of the current literature relevant to the innovation.
- Innovation proposal which clearly articulates the innovation including context, details of methodology including a business plan, including recognition of any barriers to implementation, and potential impact of the innovation.
- Oral presentation of the proposed innovation, where candidates will be required to defend their proposal in front of a panel that will include scientific and clinical experts and Lay representatives who will contribute to assessment, to ensure that a key skill acquired is the ability to present research ideas to a non-specialist audience.
Format for the written submission
The C1 Innovation Project must contain:
- A review of the Literature associated with your innovation (4000 words +/- 10%)
- A 5 page (maximum) innovation proposal.
The final form and structure of the innovation proposal is for you to decide, the below are suggestions for what you might need to include:
- A description of the idea and explanation of why it is an innovation
- Evidence of stakeholder engagement (e.g. focus groups, surveys, interviews, audits) – we recognise that for some disciplines/innovations direct engagement with patients may not be possible/appropriate – but can you provide some evidence/description for how the importance of this innovation to the patient has been or would be considered if implemented?
- A business case – this is the argument for implementation – a business case should articulate a clear path to a return on investment – so it should show that implementing this innovation will be beneficial. It is therefore likely to contain some numbers (details can be in an appendix), but it does not have to if the argument for your innovation can be made in some other way. It does not have to contain every detailed step to implement the innovation, but it should describe how the innovation could be implemented and what (if any) barriers there would be to this.
- A lay summary that sets out in an accessible form what the innovation is, why it is important and what its benefits would be.
- Additional information can be included through appendices as relevant.
C2 Research Project (200 credits)
Clinical Scientists will normally complete C2 in Years 4 and 5 of the programme. During C2, a research project will be identified (which may be, but does not have to be, based on the innovation project planned in C1). The project will involve:
Formative assessment :
- Completion of a research project proforma (which will be evaluated by the University and used to identify an appropriate academic supervisor).
- Note that for some Life Sciences trainees, the C2 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 C2 to meet the requirement for the research component of the FRCPath Part 2.
- Further information on pathways to HSSR is available on the NSHCS website.
Summative assessment :
- Thesis prepared and bound in accordance with the regulations for submission of a doctoral thesis.
- Oral examination by an internal (University) and external (appointed by the University) examiner.
Screening of research proposals
Clinical Scientists will need to complete a research project pro-forma for C1 and C2 which 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. Clinical Scientists should expect to receive feedback and an introduction to their academic supervisor within 4 weeks of submission of the pro-forma.
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 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.
|Pathway lead 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 will provide advice and expertise to assist the HSST Lead in evaluating the research proposal and appointing an academic supervisor.|
|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.|
|MAHSE Manager:||The MAHSE manager is Kate Evans: firstname.lastname@example.org|
|MAHSE HSST Administrator:||The MAHSE HSST administrator is Shazia Dar: email@example.comfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|University of Manchester Administrators:||The Programme administrator for Life Sciences, Audiological Sciences and Clinical Bioinformatics (Genomics) is Stuart Holmes: DClinSci@manchester.ac.uk
The Programme Administrator for Physical Sciences is Libby Osborn: PhysSci.DClinSci@manchester.ac.uk
|Manchester Metropolitan University Lead:||Garry McDowell is the HSST lead at Manchester Metropolitan University email@example.com|
|University of Liverpool Administrator:||Janet Kennedy is the lead administrative contact at University of Liverpool firstname.lastname@example.org|
Further information on the typical roles and repsonsibilities 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 or 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.
- Undertake the assessment of C1 in liaison with the workplace supervisor and provide joint feedback.
- Provide feedback and suggest revisions to the C2 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.
ManMet: The Manchester Metropolitan University Research Student 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 C1 and C2. 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.
- Undertake the assessment of C1 in liaison with the academic supervisor and provide joint feedback.
- 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 Student Handbook includes information on the responsibilities of the supervisory team and of the student and is accessed via the Graduate School website.
Planning and timelines
Each University will have a system for monitoring progress throughout the research phase (for example via online systems, completion of progress forms etc). Key milestones will be set during the research process, so that the student and those involved in supervision can keep a track of progress.
Examples of the milestones are shown below. Disclaimer: These are draft milestones that will be subject to the outcome of the validation and may be changed as a consequence of fulfilling any validation conditions. The milestones apply to Clinical Scientists who originally joined the programme as part of Cohort 1.
|Submission and approval of C1 Proforma||1 November 2016||3|
|Appointment of workplace and academic supervisors||1 December 2016||3|
|Planning and Expectation meeting (objective setting, project plan etc)||1 February 2017||3|
|Optional 1500 word formative submission||1 March 2017||3|
|Progress meeting 1||1 April 2017||3|
|Submission of written component (literature review and innovation proposal)||1 June 2017||3|
|Feedback on written component||1 July 2017||3|
|Oral presentation||1 September 2017||Before start of Yr 4|
|Confirmation of progression to C2||1 September 2017||By start of Yr 4|
|Submission and approval of C2 Proforma||1 February 2017||3|
|Appointment of workplace and academic supervisors||30 September 2017||4|
|Planning and Expectation meeting (objective setting, project plan etc)||31 October 2017||4|
|Submission of Literature Review||31 January 2018||4|
|Literature Review Feedback||28 February 2018||4|
|Progress meeting 2 (Literature Review)||30 June 2018||4|
|Thesis Planning Meeting||31 December 2018||5|
|Notice of submission||30 June 2019||5|
|Submission of Thesis||31 July 2019||5|
|Oral Examination||30 September 2019||5|
|Award||30 November 2019||5|
Gaining ethical approval can be a lengthy and time consuming process. Clinical Scientists should check university and workplace procedures for ethical approval in respect of both C1 and C2 research components 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:
C1 submission and assessment process
Guidance on the C1 submission and marking process will be provided by the host institution for your discipline. Marking will be undertaken by the two supervisors. 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 Section 9 of Research Student Handbook)
Requests for extension to submission deadlines
Guidance should be sought from the host institution for your DClinSci.
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 work-based 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.
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.
Clinical Scientists who wish to use social media within their research may wish to refer to guidance from the International Centre for Guidance Studies