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.
Mammary Fold Academic Sub-Committee
The Mammary Fold, the national breast trainees group, established an Academic Sub-Committee parallel to the development of the ABS Academic & Research Committee.
To find out more about the Academic Sub-Committee and its members please click here.