Groups of NHS organisations, universities and colleges, and private companies are expected to form clusters, with the potential to take on responsibility for health education, by the end of the year.

Health education and innovation clusters were proposed in the next stage review workforce report as a way of better co-ordinating education and training and speeding up the application of research.

The partnerships may be similar to academic health science centres, of which five were designated last month, but are expected to include more organisations, and are more education focused. Specialist research excellence is less important.

As the centres develop they may take on responsibility for providing medical education and training.

The Department of Health yesterday published a guide for potential applicants and a timetable for the first wave which said formal applications should be submitted in October.

The DH will make available £10m this financial year to support their creation and more money in the following two years.

Health minister Lord Darzi said: “HIECs will have a role in speeding up the local adoption of new medicines, devices, treatments and care pathways, so that all NHS patients reap the benefits of research and development adapted to local needs.”

University Hospitals Birmingham foundation trust director of strategic developments Sam Chittenden said the organisation and its partners, which failed to be accredited as an academic health science centre, would be looking at applying.