A consortium led by Leicester Medical School is hoping to help reshape the National Health Service after winning £250,000 to train the next generation of health education managers.
Project leader Stewart Petersen said: "People managing the education of doctors, nurses and other health professionals now have to work across the university-NHS divide as well as across professional boundaries. Managers need a new set of skills at a time of huge change."
The funding for the three-year project, Developing Tomorrow's Leaders in Health and Social Care Education, will come from the Higher Education Funding Council for England's Fund for the Development of Teaching and Learning.
Project leader Leicester, along with the University of Leeds and University College, Northampton, will enrol the first 25 students this autumn. In all, 50 to 70 people are expected to go through the course.
The consortium hopes the project will become sufficiently popular with universities and the NHS to continue beyond the seedcorn funding.
Professor Petersen, who designed the first UK "fast-track" medical course for graduates and established medical education at Warwick University, said: "Many current leaders in this field are close to retirement. We have acquired skills in an erratic way but want to ensure that there is a new generation capable of dealing with the changes heralded in The NHS Plan and the Health Service for all the Talents documents."
He said that students on the course would all be mentored by someone in their region. "These mentors tend to be academic deans or directors of medical education and we are currently putting them through a development programme. The idea is that the mentoring will continue long after the course has finished," Professor Petersen said.
"We can't sit these people down in a lecture room and tell them what to do - because no one has all the answers. Instead, they will work in groups to look at particular problems."