Workforce, training and education
East of England
Academic Training

If you see yourself as a researcher, a medical educator, a Specialised Foundation Programme, SFP (formerly AFP) may be for you.

Specialised (formerly Academic) foundation doctors are required to follow the same curriculum and to meet the same foundation outcomes as other foundation doctors, but must also complete additional academic work within the same two-year period. Therefore, SFP applicants should have excellent clinical skills and a strong record of academic achievement.

The UKFPO has a helpful document on the additional competencies for the Academic programme

We have a variety of different academic programmes running within the East of England. These cover research, education and education/simulation. These are based in both our schools. We would suggest that all medical students consider where they would like their future career to lead, and consider applying for an academic programme with us as well as the standard foundation application. A taste of research, or an early exposure to educational principles may help direct the course of your future career, even if not directly academic!


Please carefully read the UKFPO applicants handbook.

You will need to complete the Specialised foundation application within the standard foundation application form. In the specialised application you can apply for 2 schemes [specialist units of application or SUoA]. These do not need to be part of the same foundation school that you rank for the general application

Our 4 specialist units of application in the East of England are:

HEEOE/24-25/3653/SFP Cambridge (CATO) - linking with DGH posts in F1 in either EAFS or EBH with the second year at Addenbrookes and a 4 month research block.

HEEOE/24-25/3655/SFP EoE Education (EOEEd) formerly EBH - based at either EAFS or EBH dependent on your ranking, with an educational F2

HEEOE/24-25/3654/SFP Norwich (NATO) - based entirely within EAFS at NNUH

HEEOE/24-25/3652/SFP Anglia Ruskin University (ARU)

Please note that 2 units of specialist application  are spread across the East of England rather than specifically to one of our foundation schools. However, for ease of review, we have then highlighted this as foundation schools below.

White Spaced Questions 

The specialised programme has additional White Space Questions on the ORIEL form, which are marked as part of a shortlisting process. 

Please see below the White Spaced Questions which need to be answered for each unit of application. You are required to answer 'Yes' to the following PROGRAMME INTEREST choices for the vacancy or vacancies you are applying to. 

Norwich (NATO) - Career Goals and in Programme Interest - Research and Leadership 

Cambridge (CATO) - Career Goals and in Programme Interest - Research and Team Working 

EoE Education (EOEEd) formerly EBH - Career Goals and in programme interest -Leadership, Education and Teaching

Anglia Ruskin University (ARU)Career Goals and in programme interest - Research

If you are also applying to an SFP vacancy in another region please check their website for specific 'programme interest' use information.

Successfully shortlisted candidates are invited to interview by the respective specialist team.

All interviews for 2024 places will take place remotely. Please note that it is not possible to request to change interview dates and times once allocated a slot. This applies to all 4 SUoA's -CATO, NATO, ARU and EOEEd.

The interview structures for each SUoA:

  • CATO Cambridge- on the day of interviews, each applicant will be interviewed and scored by a single panel comprising both clinical and academic personnel using standardised scoring criteria and consisting of both clinical and academic questions.  You will not be required to show a portfolio, but you should ensure you have proof of identity (preferably a passport). Single interview last for approximately 30 minutes 
  • NATO Norwich- the interview structure in Norwich consists of three different stations: a clinical scenario, critical appraisal of an RCT and research plans. Single interview last for approximately 40 minutes 
  • EOEEd- The interview structure for the Education Academic Programme consists of a single panel with questions covering relevant experience. A presentation may be required, and you will be notified. Please note there is no written or reading element to the interviews. Single interview last for approximately 15 minutes.   
  • ARU Anglia Ruskin - The interview structure for ARU consists of a single panel. The panel will be comprised of clinical and academic colleagues. Interview questions will include both a clinical and academic focus and be scored using standardised criteria. Single interviews last for approximately 30 minutes.

Shortlisting feedback: 

Feedback on the shortlisting for all SUoA (CATO, NATO, EOEEd, and ARU) will not be provided. Each of our four specialist units of application have their own shortlisting criteria and this is not undertaken by the Foundation School. Applicants are not required to upload a curriculum vitae with their application.

Interview feedback:

CATO- Interview feedback can be provided for unsuccessful candidates, following confirmation of the outcome.  Requests for feedback can be made until middle of February 2024 by email to Foundation Programmes (EOE) 

EOEEd, NATO and ARU - SFP programme's recruiting procedure and requirements are extremely competitive, and as a result, individual feedback requests will not be accommodated


Offers will be made to successful candidates based on their interview score ranking and programme choices. 

East of England SFP

We have research SFP placements based around Cambridge University, UEA and ARU.

We also have education SFP placements based at University of Hertfordshire, UEA, ARU

The East of England Foundation School is separated into 4 quadrants:

  • East Anglia East: Norfolk and Norwich, James Paget, Ipswich, Colchester, West Suffolk
  • East Anglia West: Papworth, Addenbrookes, Hinchingbrooke, Peterborough, QEH Kings Lynn
  • Essex: Southend, Basildon, PA Harlow, Broomfield
  • Beds and Herts: Lister Stevenage, Watford, Luton Bedford

Educational  SFP - East of England Educational

Your F1 programme is 3 x 4 month clinical placements – so no different from a standard F1 however it is sensible during this time to link in with your F2 academic supervisors to consider and draft some elements of your project.

You will also be asked to attend the general welcome session and also the poster presentation day.

You will complete a PGCert in your F2 year, where you will work approx 60% clinically and 40% in education on your PGcert, completing a project and working predominantly with your local education team, the hub and sim delivery teams. The project should be focussed on post graduate medical education – aiming to add value to our Foundation programmes

Please see the handbook below of the appropriate activities. Your trust will provide you with an academic supervisor who will complete the correct form to confirm that you have covered the requirements. Projects are usually pilot studies or evaluations and are discussed in F1 to find suitable projects, supervisors and review outcomes. The majority of your time is within your trust, improving and evaluating within the foundation programme.

  • Anglia Ruskin University provide 8 Foundation doctors with clinical placements at Basildon or Southend. (Essex quadrant)
  • The University of Hertfordshire provides 6 foundation doctors with placements in F2, at East and North Herts or Luton. (Beds, Herts quadrant)
  • The University of East Anglia  provides 8 foundation doctors with placements at Ipswich (EAFS East quadrant) or Kings Lynn (EAFS West quadrant).

Please see prospectus below.

Research SFP - Cambridge University (CATO)

These are 2-year Foundation programmes with the opportunity to undertake a four month specialist research placement in F2 at Addenbrookes Hospital Cambridge. Each F1 year is a standard 3 x 4 months clinical placements and is undertaken at a peripheral district general hospital to maximise clinical exposure:

F1 is spent at:

Lister Stevenage, Bedford (Beds, Herts quadrant),

PAH Harlow (Essex quadrant)

Peterborough, QE Kings Lynn (East Anglia West quadrant)

West Suffolk (East Anglia East quadrant)

Please see the prospectus available below

Research SFP – Norwich/UEA (NATO) (East Anglia East quadrant)

Both years of the NATO research SFP are based in Norwich. Again the first year is a standard 3 x 4 month clinical programme. The second year includes the 4 month academic block.

Specialties include medicine, surgery, neurosciences, perioperative medicine, general practice and public health.

Please see prospectus below.

Research SFP – ARU (Essex quadrant)

New for Aug 2024 F1 entry we are excited to offer 2-year academic foundation programmes based in Essex. Again the first year is a standard 3 x 4 month clincal placement structure based at the same hospital as your F2 year. The F2 year includes a 4 month academic placement based at :

Vision and Eye Research Institute (clinical rotations at Southend)

Circulatory Health Research Group Basildon (clinical rotations at Basildon)

Veterans and Families Institute for Military ad Social Research (clinical rotations Broomfield)

Burns and plastics - St Andrew’s Burns Centre (clinical rotations Broomfield)

Please see prospectus below

Please contact with any queries.

Life following a specialised programme

We are keen in the East of England to promote your career in your specialist programme field. We have an array of clinical fellow posts advertised, which are very successful. Many Academic trainees moved to do a PhD , or Dip Ed and MEd. In our region we support clinical fellows in simulation and education to work less than full time clinically, and the rest in education. Our educational fellows help support the specialist educational foundation doctors, so will be able to provide you with careers help, as well as project help and a wider faculty.


Moving your Interview

Please note that it is not possible to request to change interview dates and times once allocated a slot. This applies to all 4 SUoA's -CATO, NATO, ARU and EOEEd. 

Recruitment Timeline

Timeline for East of England Foundation Programmes - Academic Recruitment August 2024

Registration period. All programmes are available to view.  12th September  (09:00 BST) – 20th September 2023
Complete the online application form for both the Foundation Programme and if required the Specialty Foundation Programme. The application period closes at 12.00 noon (BST) on 4th October 2023.  Late applications will not be accepted under any circumstances.   20th September, 09:00 (BST) – 4th October 2023, 12:00 (BST)
Deadline for requests for pre-allocation to a particular UoA on the grounds of special circumstances.    4th October 2023 (12 midday BST)
SFP local short-listing and interviews. Deadlines and processes for short-listing and interviews will vary by SUoA. Each SUoA will communicate with the applicants who apply to it.   From 5th October 2023
Cambridge interview dates  Monday 20th , Tuesday 21st , Wednesday 22nd , Thursday 23rd - Friday 24th November 2023
EOEEd interview date    10th November 2023  
Norwich interview date   6th December 2023 
ARU interview dates 

Tuesday 21st November (AM only), Wednesday 29th November – (PM only)

Thursday 30th November - Full day of interviews

Specialised Foundation Programme offers released – Round 1 10th -12th January 2024
National deadline for acceptance/reject offers  
Specialised Foundation Programme offers released – Round 2 17th – 19th January 2024
Specialised Foundation Programme offers released – Round 3 24th – 26th January 2024
Specialised Foundation Programme offers released – Round 4 31st January – 2nd February 2024

Feedback on the shortlisting for all SUoA (CATO, NATO, EOEEd, and ARU) will not be provided.

CATO- Interview feedback can be provided for unsuccessful candidates, following confirmation of the outcome.  Requests for feedback can be made by email to Foundation Programmes (EOE) 

EOEEd and ARU - SFP programme's recruiting procedure and requirements are extremely competitive, and as a result, individual feedback requests will not be accommodated 
Reserve List

If you have been placed on the reserve list you will be notified via Oriel. Following initial offers for SFP places, SUoAs will offer any unfilled places to applicants on the reserve list through a cascade process. Oriel will be used to inform successful SFP applicants of any offers being made and all offers will have to be accepted or declined on Oriel before the stated deadline. Any SFP applicants who are not successfully placed will be automatically included in the FP process and allocated to a UoA.