Sciana: The Health Leaders Network is designed to bring together outstanding leaders in health, health care policy and innovation. The network provides members space to take inspiration and learning from across the globe. It also gives them time to share insights gained, as well as their own experiences with peers, with whom they will work to address some of the shared challenges we are facing across Europe.

The network is for outstanding leaders in health who are primarily living and working in one of the three countries of the founding partners (UK, Switzerland and Germany) who share a deep commitment to improving health, quality, sustainability, universal coverage, and patient and community-centred care, nationally and internationally. Their vision and collaboration, aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, is critically needed to respond to common issues, such as fiscal strains, demographic change, chronic diseases, digital transformation, patient centredness and migration.

The Sciana network offers three key dimensions of engagement:

  • Personal learning from peers and faculty, and support to take projects forward.
  • Partnerships on a national, international and cross-sectoral level.
  • Opportunity to shape and implement a ‘Sciana challenge’ on the theme of “Leadership for health in a post-COVID world”, which will guide cohort members to develop integrated solutions for each country’s health system.

Cohort 5: Leadership for health in a post-pandemic world 

A range of possibilities for the future of health are upon us as the ‘new normal’ takes shape post 2020. Great strides in leadership are needed to transcend reactive, incremental responses to current challenges, and jolt societies into transformational change. Individual leaders do not often possess all the resources, insight and mandate needed to address these complex issues alone. Collaborative leadership is needed more than ever to recover from the pandemic and build back better.
The Sciana programme for cohort 5 under the theme of “leadership for health in a post-pandemic world” will support leaders to navigate through new emerging political landscapes following COVID-19. Its leadership development approach reinforces forward-thinking, one which sees leadership development going beyond individual leaders’ abilities and includes forging communities of leaders, to support leadership as networks.

Selection criteria for Cohort 5

In 2021, Sciana: The Health Leaders Network will select the 5th cohort of health leaders to join the programme in May 2022. This next iteration of the programme will welcome a diverse set of mid-to senior-level leaders who represent public, private, and civil society, who bring a demonstrable interest and experience of supporting change towards better healthcare and healthier societies.

The programme is designed for participants who as leaders, working and living primarily in one of the countries of the founding partners (UK, Switzerland, and Germany), are: 

Current role

  • Tasked with leading collaborative work that is cross-sector and cross-disciplinary 
  • Leading transformational change or whole systems reform within or across organizations or communities that requires fresh, bold and collective thinking  
  • Holding a position in the field of health and/or public policy, research, media, community development, industry, patient advocacy, innovation or similar fields. 

Participants should also be able to demonstrate the following:


  • Significant experience of contributing to improving health through innovation, research, policy-making and/or community programmes, including influencing multiple stakeholders and systems
  • A proven track record of building bridges between different health care sectors or between sectors that affect the determinants of health  
  • Proven experience in advancing the quality and sustainability of care or public services that affect health, universal coverage, and person-centred care at a local, national and/ or global level.


  • Knowledge of, or experience with multiple international health systems (desirable)
  • Have excellent English language skills (knowledge of further languages are an advantage).

Qualities and interests

  • Demonstrated interest in exploring new ways of approaching complex issues
  • Strongly committed to engaging actively with a community of peers and experts
  • Entrepreneurial and strategic thinking, understanding the scale and complexity of key challenges facing health and health care systems. Interest in further exploring ways to manage the tensions between long-term policy goals and short-term political pressures. 
  • Energetic and curious, not afraid to ask uncomfortable questions and able to motivate others to implement unconventional measures.
  • Deep commitment to equity, quality, sustainability, universal coverage, and patient and community-centered care and wider endeavors outlined in the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Committed to attending all seminars and meetings, which may require travel to Salzburg and local meetings.

Sciana Network members benefit from:

  • System Insights: Unlock system insight from international, interprofessional and cross-sector perspectives and gather foresight into new directions of work. 
  • Agile Peer Support : Peer-mentoring, new professional relationships and access to coalitions of organizations, which can be drawn on to when responding to emerging complex issues. 
  • Living Community: Join a community of over 70 exceptional European health leaders with strong, trust-based -relationships, who are open to and share collaborative opportunities. Members are expected to remain in and are invited to actively contribute to the network beyond their initial two-year membership.
  • Greater sense of confidence to lead in disruptive times: Learn ways of making sense and handling complex change. 
  • Leadership Coaching: Get one-to-one support from senior ambassadors and Sciana Chairs.

Over the course of two years, members develop key connections for coalition building across organisational, professional and national boundaries. Using the Sciana Challenge, cross-border collaborations and direct interaction with high-level international health experts, members are given the time and space to explore ways to act strategically and successfully negotiate the complex economic, political, and social settings in which health is embedded. 

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All in-person meetings take place at Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, Austria. Meetings begin with dinner on day one and end with breakfast on day five.

As places on the network are limited and highly sought after, all Sciana members must commit to attending all three days of each of the four meetings. We kindly ask for your understanding that this is non-negotiable and a prerequisite for all applications. 

The tentative dates for the in-person meetings in Salzburg are:

10 to 14 May 2022
22 to 26 November 2022

7 to 11 May 2023
19 to 23 November 2023

How to apply

If you wish to become part of the Sciana network, please send Astrid Koblmüller your CV, along with a covering letter responding to the membership criteria described as well as separate responses to the following questions:

  • Leading transformational change: What significant health issues are you working to address? What major challenges and opportunities are you currently facing? In your role, how are you uniquely positioned to make a difference? (150 words max)
  • Previous experience: As an individual, what are your greatest strengths and developmental areas as a leader? (150 words max)
  • Collaborative leadership: What kinds of cross-sector or cross-disciplinary relationship are you interested in cultivating? And, why? How do you envision contributing to the Sciana network? (150 words max)
  • Confirmation that you are available for all four meetings.

The application process for cohort 5 is now open. Applications will close on 12th September 2021. 

If you have any questions about the application process, you can also contact the Foundations directly:

The Health Foundation: Ruth Thorlby, Assistant Director, Policy:
Careum Stiftung: Martina Hersperger, Head of Corporate Development and Communication:
Robert Bosch Stiftung: Louise Baker-Schuster, Senior Project Manager, Health:



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