You are here

Funding Call: SEFARI FELLOWSHIP with Public Health Scotland on estimating the health and wellbeing value of the natural capital of the NHS estates

Funding Call: SEFARI FELLOWSHIP with Public Health Scotland on estimating the health and wellbeing value of the natural capital of the NHS estates

SEFARI Gateway is delighted to provide support for a new Fellowship with Public Health Scotland (PHS). We are seeking someone who can contribute to the development of a framework, by which the value of health and well-being derived from the natural capital of NHS Scotland outdoor estates can be estimated.



The NHS Scotland Climate Emergency and Sustainability strategy requires all health boards to conduct an assessment that attaches a value to the benefits that arise from the natural capital resources from the green and blue spaces, and biodiversity to be found within their outdoor estate.

This fellowship will build on the outcomes of previous research commissioned by Public Health Scotland and NatureScot in 2022/23 as part of Greenspace and Biodiversity workstream of the NHS Climate Emergency and Sustainability Strategy.


The Fellowship


The aim of the Fellowship is to assess the applicability of a method for evaluating green and blue spaces, which are likely to contribute to the health and well-being of patients, staff and communities within a care setting.


The following proposed method is what we would like assessed and if it is not achievable, we would seek the knowledge of the Fellow in developing a suitable alternative method.

Our potential approach for obtaining the associated Natural Capital Accounts (NCA) economic values of NHS estates through eliciting the QALYs from the survey is as follows:

a) Use the EQ-5D-3L (or similar EQ-5D approach) for the survey questions and use the method of White et al (2016)1 to estimate the value of health gains.

b) Estimate the NCA value using similar recreation, mental and physical values listed in Roberts et al (2021)2.

The Fellow will work closely with analysts from PHS and possibly other health boards throughout the fellowship’s tenure. In addition, SEFARI Gateway will set up a Fellowship Support Team to, for example, offer advice and any additional guidance needed.

Outputs & Outcomes:

The detail of the work programme will be agreed upon between the successful Fellow, SEFARI Gateway and Public Health Scotland, but should include the following areas:

1) Test and develop the aforementioned proposed method:

a) Provide narrative on potential limitations and caveats of the approach.

b) Create suitable survey questions which allows the estimation of QALYs from users of the different greenspaces (i.e. patients and staff) of selected NHS Scotland sites.

c) Conduct the survey on an appropriate sample of patients and staff at each site (to allow time for ethics approval, we would advise that this should be the initial starting point).

The following result from White et al (2016)1 is the type of outcome presentation (though we would seek to have mental health included too) we would be looking for with respect to the fellowship: “mean average of the difference in QALY values for 6823 respondents that were sufficiently exposed to nature was calculated to be 0.01995 QALYs. This value indicates the estimated health benefit gained from being in nature for 120 minutes or more, every week, for a year, per person. This is the equal to approximately £260 (2008 prices) using the £12,936 cost of NHS resources required to add one QALY to the lives of NHS patients”.

2) Estimate a NCA value for the four types of NHS estates (which will be provided to the fellow). This allows a reference value for hospital settings to be estimated which can then be used by all health boards in Scotland.

We would like the successful Fellow to present the findings to Public Health Scotland, NatureScot and other interested parties, write a short final report and a SEFARI Case Study. The fellow may also wish to publish in an academic journal, which would be possible, although this is not a required output.


The Fellow

The Fellow will require:

  • A strong understanding of natural capital accounting
  • A strong understanding of conducting surveys
  • Experience in researching for and compiling written reports and communicating findings to non-technical audiences
  • A motivation to gain experience in working closely with Public Health Scotland (and other NHS Scotland boards) and NatureScot

The Fellow needs to be a staff member of one of the SEFARI Institutes, Centres of Expertise or UK Higher Education Institutes.

Applications to deliver the work via a small team of researchers (up to 3 and within the total budget available) would also be considered.



The details of the final Fellowship work plan will be developed, and agreed, between the Fellow(s) and a management team from SEFARI and Public Health Scotland. There is a maximum of 50 days available for project delivery over a period of six months (work will need to be split into two phases of a scoping/review period this financial year i.e., by 31st March 2024 and collecting data early next financial year i.e., April-June 2024) – the exact number of days, their timing, and their pattern through the working week will be discussed and agreed with the successful Fellow(s). Due to the Fellowship’s scale and interdisciplinary nature, we are open to proposals from individuals and groups.

Funding (to a maximum of £36k) will be available to cover salary costs and any travel/subsistence. Please note that costs should be submitted net of VAT recovered by the applicant. Applicants should seek advice on appropriate VAT treatment of proposed funding.

A Fellowship Support Team, composed of SEFARI Gateway, Strategic Research Portfolio colleagues and Public Health Scotland, will assist with research; guide data collection, analysis and presentation; ethical issues; identifying networks for sharing research findings; shaping and informing commissioned work, and feedback on emerging findings.

The deadline for applications is 5pm on the 1st December 2023 with informal interviews to be held within two weeks following from that date.

If you have any questions on this, or any general aspect of the SEFARI Fellowship scheme, please contact Michelle Wilson Chalmers, Manager, SEFARI Gateway at:


Further Details

  • Applicants must have the support of their organisation (whether SEFARIs, Centres of Expertise, or Higher Education Institutes).
  • Sign-off should be at the level deemed appropriate for each organisation (please talk to your line manager), but Directors/Chief Executives of your Institute should be made aware.
  • The taking up of such an opportunity should not result in a candidate going beyond the end of any agreed contract they may have with their employer.
  • It is recognised that individual circumstances are different and support levels will vary depending on salary, distance from the opportunity and so on – the support level will be kept under review to try and maintain a fair and equitable competition and process. The Institute/Portfolio-Organisation/HEI of the successful Fellow(s) should not expect to meet any costs beyond that paid for by SEFARI Gateway.
  • The successful candidate(s) will be expected to contribute to relevant meetings or outputs for the project partners as the Fellowship progresses and to generate knowledge exchange related content for SEFARI Gateway (support will be offered on this).
  • A written report and an online Case Study are required by SEFARI Gateway at the end of the Fellowship.



Applications should be made to: and should include a cover letter (two pages of detail on your suitability or that of the team) and a two-page CV (or up to 6 pages for a team). Decisions on who to interview will be based solely on this letter and CV.

The cover letter should include:

  • Why you are interested in this opportunity and what you would hope to get from it?
  • What skills and experience you would bring to this role;
  • How you would use your current work to underpin the project;
  • What you would do to take the learning back into your organisation.

Team-based applications should demonstrate how they propose to manage individual contributions to satisfy the degree of multi-disciplinary integration required.



[1] White, M.P., Elliott, L.R., Taylor, T., Wheeler, B.W., Spencer, A., Bone, A., Depledge, M.H. and Fleming, L.E., 2016. Recreational physical activity in natural environments and implications for health: A population based cross-sectional study in England. Preventive Medicine91, pp.383-388.

[2] Roberts, M., McVittie, A., Glenk, K. and Irvine, K.N., 2021. Natural Capital Accounts for Scotland: Urban greenspace accounts. Available: