Starting the SFP this summer

Published on

graduate in cap and gown

The Specialised Foundation Programme (SFP) is a popular option for foundation doctors wishing to develop skills in research, teaching and leadership.

Graduating Student Doctor Rachel Howard has chosen this path for her foundation training and will be taking up her post at Cambridge in August with a focus in paediatric research.

“I have particularly enjoyed having allocated time for research this year in the form of a Selective in Advanced Medical Practice (SAMP) project looking at new treatments for paediatric stroke, and I am excited to be continuing this work by collaborating with other children’s hospitals around the UK over the coming year.”

What motivated you to apply to the SFP?

“I originally chose to intercalate to do something different for a year and have a little break from medicine.

My year at UCL doing an MSc in Reproductive Science & Women’s Health helped me find my passion for research.

I was keen to explore alternative sides of medicine rather than just clinical and so an SFP seemed like a good choice for me.”

What are your biggest tips for students interested in applying to the SFP?

"Number one is to reach out to others that have applied to find out more about what the universities are looking for and what their interview process is like. I was very fortunate to connect with a few current SFP students on the Cambridge programme via LinkedIn who supported me through the application process.

Number two is to apply to anywhere you want, no matter how competitive it might be and regardless of your experience.

Whilst I have some previous research experience, I do not have anywhere near the amount some of the other successful applicants have. It therefore shows that they are looking for more than just research skills or publication numbers in their candidates.”

Discover more

  • Considering applying to the SFP for a 2024 start? Take a look at further tips and insights from experienced SFP foundation doctors (link).
  • Have a read through the information on the UK Foundation Programme 2024 page (link) of the student intranet, which includes links to sessions run at the School to support your SFP application.
  • Please note that the application process for SFP in 2024 is yet to be announced. Keep an eye on the UKFPO official website (link) to stay up to date with deadlines, news and updates, particularly considering the changes to procedures for a 2024 start.