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SAS Development Fund Application Process

Scottish Government is providing annual funding for SAS doctors' and dentists' training and development needs.

This is not to support routine CPD, which should be funded as normal via your employer's study leave budget, but is rather to provide assistance to individuals by way of a contribution towards the cost of carrying out a course of study or project, for the purpose of meeting a specific aim as outlined above.

What's included?

SAS Professional Development Programme funding is run on an annual basis. Funding has been provided to support future course fees (within the UK only), but in order to optimise the number of applicants who may benefit from the SAS Development Fund the monies cannot be used to support examination fees, exam preparation courses or college related fees (to present a Portfolio Pathway application).

For courses which extend beyond a single academic year, objective evidence of successful achievement within the first year will be required from the applicant prior to approval being granted to fund subsequent years.

To date, we have received a total of 521 applications for funding, of which 84% have been approved for funding.

Please find our application process flowchart here which includes information on eligibility and how to correctly complete your application.

What courses can I apply for?

To date, the Development Fund has supported applications for activities including:

Train the Trainer (Endoscopy) course, ALS Instructor training, CCRiSP courses, Laparoscopy courses, ADOS Autism Diagnostic Observation Skills courses, Cardiac/ECHO training, Transvaginal Ultrasound training, Rheumatology Ultrasound training, and other postgraduate qualification in specialty specific disciplines such as Palliative Medicine, Paediatric Neuro-disability and Conscious Sedation (Dentistry) courses amongst others. This list is not exhaustive.

As current circumstances favour online and distance learning courses, we have made a list of such courses we've previously supported available at this webpage. Applicants are also welcome to identify new learning opportunities they wish to apply for.

Applications for assistance from the Development Fund should relate to projects or courses of study which can clearly demonstrate enhanced or improved clinical service provision and patient care and safety. These projects or courses of study should lead to an increased contribution by the recipient to the National Health Service both in general and locally.

Applications may be considered for:

  • short-term top-up training for CESR in accordance with current GMC specialty specific guidance
  • postgraduate qualifications which may be certificates/diplomas/masters in clinical areas or others such as leadership, education, ethics etc.
  • short-term clinical secondments for additional experience, which are of relevance to the individual and the Service they support.
  • other training and development opportunities which are considered to enhance the development of that individual doctor/dentist and the service they can provide.

Applicants must hold a substantive SAS-grade post and will require approval from their Head of Service/Clinical Director and their Director of Medical Education before their application can be considered. If potential applicants require help and support in the process this will be provided by the locally appointed SAS Education Adviser in their board area.

Please note that the SAS Development Fund cannot be used for modules or courses focused on academic research/dissertations. Courses such as Masters degrees, if approved, will typically be funded for the Certificate (1st) and Diploma (2nd) years, but not for the research/dissertation modules which frequently take place in the 3rd year of a Masters degree. Studying for a PhD would not usually be supported either, for the same reasoning. Please liaise with your SAS Education Adviser for queries on eligibility of any course that you have identified.

The national SAS Programme Board consists of the following representation:

  • Associate Postgraduate Dean and Operational Lead for SAS Programme, Dr Lynne Meekison
  • Associate Postgraduate Dental Dean, Mr Donald Thomson
  • Representative of the DMEs Group, Dr Kate Patrick 
  • Representatives of the British Medical Association (BMA), Dr Sine Steele and Mr Zeeshan Ahmed
  • Representative of the Academy of Royal Medical College (AoRMC), Mrs Vinita Shekar

This SAS Programme Board meets four times a year to assess and approve applications for funding, and to try and improve the delivery of training and development for SAS doctors working in Scotland over and above their study leave entitlement.

When can I apply?

Applications can be submitted at any time during each funding approval cycle. The cut-off dates for the next cycle are as follows:

The next SAS Programme Board meeting will be taking place on Friday 2nd August 2024.

To ensure bids are received in time to be considered by the Programme Board - APPLICANTS SHOULD or MUST:

1. Applicants should contact their EA by Friday 5th July (unless otherwise stated by your EA), to allow adequate time for discussion and planning

2. Applicants must submit their bids for internal approval (Clinical Director/ relevant Director of Medical Education) by Friday 12th July at the latest.

3. Applicants must email their fully completed, approved and authorised applications to SASDevelopment@nes.scot.nhs.uk by Friday 19th July at the latest.

Please remember applications can be submitted AT ANY TIME, and we strongly recommend that you do not leave it until the closing date.

Application forms can be downloaded below: please note that you should use the form that corresponds to the type of development activity you are applying for.

SAS Equality & Diversity form: 

As part of the SAS Development Fund application process, all applicants are required to submit an Equality & Diversity form to monitor that access to the Development Fund complies with ScotGov equality and diversity standards. This is kept separate from your application, reviewed only by the SAS admin team, and is never shown to the SAS Programme Board panel. The data you provide will be kept absolutely confidential and will be securely processed and held in accordance with the Data Protection Act. We will review and analyse the results to improve our services and to make sure they are meeting the needs of the SAS doctors and dentists we support.

Once you apply to the Fund, the SAS admin team will email you a unique code number and the link to complete the online Equality & Diversity form. If there are any questions you prefer not to answer, response options are available for you to indicate this.

The subsequent funding panel will meet on the following date: (exact date tbc) October/November 2024.


Applicants must contact their local SAS Education Adviser prior to application submission, for relevant advice and guidance. If you are unsure who your local EA is, please contact SASDevelopment@nes.scot.nhs.uk

Applicants will require approval from their Head of Service/Clinical Director and their Director of Medical Education (or appropriate Associate/Deputy DME) before their application can be considered.

This page was last updated on: 25.06.2024 at 16.24