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Chief Sustainability Officer’s Clinical Fellow Scheme

Chief Sustainability Officer’s Clinical Fellow Scheme


What it is

Sponsored by the Chief Sustainability Officer and managed by FMLM, the scheme has been established to identify and support clinicians who present with the clearest potential to develop as clinical leaders and sustainability champions of the future.

It offers clinicians with a passion for sustainability a unique opportunity to develop their leadership skills and positively impact the healthcare system's green agenda. Those appointed to the scheme will work by engaging directly with the most senior leaders in the NHS, helping to embed net zero carbon principles in the delivery of care across the healthcare system.

Find out more from Dr Nick Watts, Chief Sustainability Officer, NHS England, on why the scheme exists and why you should apply

Who it's for

The scheme values the diverse skills and experiences of clinicians from all professions and welcomes applications from allied health professionals, dentists, doctors in training, healthcare scientists, nurses, midwives and pharmacists from across England. It is aimed at aspiring future clinical leaders that have not held leadership roles previously.

For full eligibility requirements, please read the scheme information pack. For information on other clinical fellow schemes in the FMLM portfolio, please visit this page of our website.

What it offers

Successful candidates gain:

  • a range of skills including leadership and management, policy development, project management, research, and analysis
  • supported leadership and personal development
  • the opportunity to lead on key national projects which contribute to sustainable/net zero healthcare priorities
  • access to professional networks across healthcare at all levels
  • a highly developed understanding of sustainable healthcare policy and application
  • the skills to lead positive change
  • enhanced capabilities at developing and working with teams and to support others in developing their own personal insight and effectiveness.

How it works

Candidates may apply for a place on the scheme during the recruitment period held from February to March each year. Shortlisted candidates are interviewed in April, and successful applicants are seconded from their current employer to take up a fellowship role for 12 months, starting 1 September.

Clinical fellows will work in an apprenticeship model, stepping out of clinical practice for 12 months and working across NHS England directorates. Fellows will work closely with senior leaders and will have the opportunity to meet regularly with senior members of the Greener NHS team, wider NHS policy teams and stakeholders. Clinical fellows will lead on key projects that will fundamentally change the way that care is designed, developed and delivered across the system. Clinical fellows will gain an unparalleled understanding of sustainability principles as well as an essential range of leadership and management, policy development, project management, research and analysis, communications and collaboration skills.

Leadership development is supported through a comprehensive educational programme to enhance clinical fellows' leadership capabilities.

We asked current fellows to summarise their scheme experience


What do clinical fellows say?

"I have been able to bring my clinical background to the role, working on projects related to reducing the environmental impact of anaesthetics and theatres, as well as projects that relate to reducing the environmental impact of models of care."

Dr Rebecca Taylor-Smith, Chief Sustainability Officer’s Clinical Fellow 2021/22

"The clinical fellow scheme is an ideal opportunity for any Allied Health Professionals who feel passionately about the environment and want to lead on the development of Greener AHP practice and the NHS becoming a net zero carbon health service."

Ben Whittaker, Chief Sustainability Officer’s Clinical Fellow 2021/22

"Working in an environment with other likeminded people wanting to achieve a more sustainable future has been both refreshing and empowering. It has given me the confidence to pursue leaderships opportunities both clinically and non-clinically."

Dr Sophia Lentzos, Chief Sustainability Officer’s Clinical Fellow 2021/22

Webinar - Hear from 2021/22 clinical fellows and alumni members about why you should apply to the scheme

N.B. for 2023/24 - Distanced working/requirements and frequency of travel:
Host organisations will specify the distanced working arrangements/requirements and frequency of travel for each post in the job description. Please note that you should be prepared to travel to and from host organisation offices as required. For clinical fellows appointed to national posts (e.g. British Medical Journal), frequency of office attendance is expected to be 2-3 times per week in London; for clinical fellows appointed to ICB/ICS posts, this will be dependent on local working patterns. Full details will be made available in the job description pack issued to shortlisted candidates.


Applications for the 2023/24 scheme have now closed.

Please register your interest here, to be notified when the 2024/25 scheme launches recruitment.

For enquiries, please contact clinicalfellowscheme [at]

Meet the 2023/24 cohort

Find out who they are and what drives them to help create a better health service.

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