Sustainability Fellowship and Scholarship

What is a Sustainability Fellow or Scholar?

A Sustainability Fellow is a health professional who is seconded or employed to work half- to full-time on sustainable healthcare for 1-3 years, before returning to clinical practice.

A Sustainability Scholar typically has 1-2 allocated days per week to work on a sustainability project over the course of a year.

Both Fellows and Scholars have a strategic role in accelerating transformation towards sustainable healthcare and often undertake research and projects that focus on sustainability in a clinical specialty, location or cross-cutting theme such as single-use plastics. Most are based in host organisations- often an NHS Trust. 

Read about current and past Fellows and Scholars and their work here.

Who can be a Sustainability Fellow or Scholar?

Fellows and Scholars can come from any professional background in any field of healthcare. 

Benefits of a Fellowship

Scholars gain the opportunity to learn about a dimension of healthcare, develop skills in leadership and research, and contribute to strategic initiatives at national and local level to promote sustainable resource use. 

Fellows have more time to work at a deeper and more strategic level, increasing the breadth and impact of their role and embedding sustainability more effectively into healthcare systems

Patients benefit from service changes designed to increase value from resources by preventing illness and promoting individual and community resilience, empowering patients to manage their health, reducing wasteful activity, and making use of low carbon alternatives.

Health services benefit from service changes as above, and from staff engagement in service improvement and resource stewardship. Many sustainable innovations save money - e.g. it has been estimated that the average dialysis unit could save £150-200,000 each year by implementing documented sustainable innovations.

The Health Professions benefit from the development of Fellows as ambassadors for sustainable healthcare, and from their work to further understanding the environmental, social and financial burdens of services, while promoting a culture of innovation and resource stewardship.

How CSH can help

CSH is respected nationally for a specialty-led approach combining research with support for local change, underpinned by wider engagement with patients, and relevant industry and clinical bodies. CSH  partners with NHS bodies and specialty organisations to promote Sustainable Specialty Fellowships, and has managed Fellows and Scholars in a range of specialties. Through our experience we are able to offer the guidance, training and networking needed for fellowships to deliver key outcomes:

Sustainable Fellowship outcomes
  1. Increased knowledge about resource use and opportunities to improve value within specialty care pathway
  2. Transmission of good practice through a network of local representatives within clinical departments
  3. Progress in the specialty via policy development, service reporting standards and education
  4. Professional development of the fellow as an ambassador for sustainable healthcare
CSH training and support includes;
  •  Access to to a personal supervisor from within our team, with regular 2-4 weekly throughout the post.
  •  Project design support, using extensive case studies and experience to help design the best projects to reach the goals of the fellowship
  •  Online CSH training courses (two for scholars, three for fellows)
  •  In depth carbon footprinting support (fellows)
  •  Access to CSH's relationships and networks to increase connection with others undertaking related work
  •  Publicising and sharing outputs of fellowships the CSH website, e-newsletter and on social media.

Who pays for all this?

Usually a scholar/fellow’s employing organisation or a host organisation covers any appointment costs, the salary, on-costs and project costs e.g. travel and expenses. The fellow can help fill rota gaps and contribute to Green Plan delivery for additional value. Fellow/Scholar salary costs may sometimes be covered by NHS Trusts or through an existing fellowship scheme in medical education, quality improvement, innovation or leadership.  Often the employer or host will seek external funding to cover additional costs, such as CSH support costs.

CSH annual costs
  • Fellow costs: £14,985
  • Scholar costs: £9,495

If an individual is interested in undertaking a fellowship, potential partners include;

  • Specialty organisation/professional body
  • NHS Trust/your employer
  • Academic partner, e.g. a university, Health Innovation Networks (formerly AHSNs)
  • Other education provider/commissioner, e.g. Health Education England

If an organisation is interested in hosting a fellowship, potential funders include;

  • Royal Colleges / Specialty associations
  • Charitable foundations
  • Education funders, e.g. Health Education England
  • NHS Charities
  • Industry sponsorship

When approaching partner organisations, consider what they will gain from the Fellowship, e.g meeting the needs of their members/patients/staff/students, reputational gains, etc. Many organisations will have their own templates for funding applications, otherwise CSH has model proposals which can be adapted.

Take the next steps

Please get in touch if we can help:

Download our full guide to setting up a fellowship

Some inspiration...

Clinical Leadership Fellow in Net Zero/Sustainability in Dentistry 2022-23


Dr Jenny Girdler took a year out of her oral surgery specialty training to undertake a full-time fellowship through the Health Education Yorkshire and the Humber Future Leaders Programme. CSH supported Jenny throughout the year.

Jenny’s primary focus was to embed sustainability into dental training programmes.  This was achieved through:


- Embedding Sustainability in Quality Improvement (SusQI) into postgraduate dental training programmes at Yorkshire and Humber Dental Core Training

- Gathering data about the environmental and ecological impact of dentistry

- Liaising with senior stakeholders and contributing to consultations to influence the inclusion of sustainability into dental practice

- Furthering the inclusion of sustainability into the General Dental Council policies and learning objectives.


During her fellowship, Jenny relaunched and was lead for the Dental Care Sustainability Network.  With over 300 members, this network continues to share learning points and disseminate successful dentistry sustainability initiatives both nationally and internationally.


Following the fellowship, the need to address sustainability principles has been incorporated into the GDC’s Safe Practitioner Framework for Dental Nurses and Special Care Dentistry Specialty Training Curriculum, the latter with a sustainability learning objective that Jenny helped devise.  These inclusions set the scene for sustainability being addressed more widely across dentistry.