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The RCN Foundation is pleased to launch its first MSc Advanced Practice, Learning Disability Scholarship.

The education grant will help provide funding for Registered Nurses Learning Disability (RNLDs) working in social care settings or across social care and the NHS to undertake the full MSc in Advanced Practice. The Foundation will also provide a buddy from the Learning Disability Nursing field, who can provide informal support throughout your studies.

There will be five scholarships available, one for each of the devolved nations and two for England. This will be for MSc Advanced Practice Learning Disability Programmes which are accredited by the Centre for Advancing Practice (NHSE) or have RCN Advanced Practice Accreditation. The funding will cover the course fees across the full MSc pathway.

To be eligible, you will need to be: 

  • An RNLD with a minimum of three years’ clinical experience, working at an advanced level of practice in an appropriate social care setting or a role which is across social care and the NHS, caring for individuals with lived experience of a learning disability
  • If the non-medical prescribing module is part of your pathway you will need to demonstrate that there is a clinical need for you to be a prescriber in your role through your line-manager reference
  • We will also need to receive signed confirmation from your Practice Assessor for your NMP in line with the NMC Standards 2023
  • We will also need a signed confirmation from your Co-ordinating Education Supervisor demonstrating you have suitable support in clinical practice. 

How to apply

To apply, please download the application form and the equal opportunities form. Please ensure you answer each question fully. Those who submit incomplete or late applications will be ineligible.

The closing date is Friday 31 May 2024. Following the closing date, all applications will be reviewed by an expert panel. A shortlist will be drawn up by the panel and applicants who are shortlisted will be invited to attend a Teams interview with the panel, including members of the RCN Foundation grants team, RNLD experts and individuals with lived experience of a learning disability.

Please send the completed application form and equal opportunities form to

If you require assistance completing your application, please contact us at and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

The number of grants per country is proportional to the number of RNLDs in each country.

Adult Social Care Nursing is a priority focus for the RCN Foundation. 

There is limited statutory funding available for Advanced Practitioners across Social Care settings.

Individuals with lived experience of a learning disability are the recipients of social care and it is here that often health issues and long-term conditions are first identified. Supporting RNLDs working within these settings to work at an advanced level of practice should enhance their clinical assessment skills and evidence-based practice to identify health concerns and long-term health conditions earlier within this group and thus provide intervention and treatment before the condition has longer term implications on the health and wellbeing of the individual.  


Retention within the RNLD remains a challenge as does recruitment into the LD nursing field (NMC,2023). One of the reasons for this is the lack of an identifiable career framework and limited opportunity to undertake an MSc Advanced Practice programme. The Foundation wishes to support nurses within this field specifically to develop their knowledge skills and understanding when caring for individuals with lived experience of a learning disability to address health inequality and enhance health related quality of life outcomes for them.

RNLDs often fall off the register when they move to work in Social Care. As an Advanced Practitioner they will also need to remain registered with the NMC as a nurse.