Doing research as a trainee
Undertaking surgical research is an important part of surgical training, allowing an understanding and development of research skills for the trainee as well as benefitting patients. Research undertaken during training equips surgeons with core research skills including critical analysis, dissemination of results through presentation and publication (and therefore development of writing skills), development of leadership and management skills and independent thought as well as encouraging an analytical approach to clinical treatment.
Formal research training as part of an academic pathway
This pathway is for trainees who aspire to follow a clinical academic career path. It is delivered as a partnership between Universities, Deaneries and the NIHR Trainees Coordinating Centre. NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowships (ACFs) allow medical and dental trainees to undertake 25% research and 75% clinical training over 3 years. This period of research is classically used to develop a research portfolio that would allow competitive application for a PhD fellowship from one of the academic funding bodies such as NIHR, Medical Research Council or Cancer Research UK. Clinical Lectureships (CLs) allow trainees to undertake 50% research and 50% clinical training over 4 years, with the aim of developing post-doctoral research, before the award of a Clinician Scientist Fellowship or Senior Lectureship.
Formal research training outside of the academic pathway
Trainees can undertake a two year MD programme or three year PhD programme. Occasionally these posts are offered with a limited clinical commitment, which provides the salary. Otherwise fellowships need to be sought through competitive application.
Research performed concurrently with clinical work
Producing high quality research as a busy surgical trainee, rotating through numerous posts across wide geographical regions is notoriously challenging. Surgical trainee-led research collaboratives offer the opportunity to run large-scale multicentre audits, studies and clinical trials by bringing together interested trainees into one collaborative research group. These collaboratives allow the development of skills in protocol design, statistics, ethics, funding, leadership, management and recruitment.
Over recent years numerous collaboratives have been established, running highly successful research, exemplified by the Rossini Trial
Regional Trainee Research Collaborative Contacts
East of England Research Collaborative
East Midlands Surgical Academic Network
Kent and Medway Research Collaborative
London Surgical Research Group
Mersey Research Group for General Surgery
Northern Surgical Trainee Research Association
North West Research Collaborative
Oswestry and Stoke Collaborative for Audit and Research
South Peninsula Audit and Research Collaborative for Surgeons
Scottish Surgery Research Group
South Yorkshire Surgical Research Group
Welsh Barbers Research Group
Wessex Research Collaborative
West Midlands Research Collaborative
Warwickshire Surgical Research Group
Yorkshire Surgical Research Collaborative
The Mammary Fold have recently established an academic sub-committee and aim to set up a nationwide breast trainees collaborative in the near future