Supplementing Resident Research Funding Through a Partnership With Local Industry

Steven J. Skube, Elliot G. Arsoniadis, Cyrus Jahansouz, Sherri Novitsky, Jeffrey G. Chipman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: To develop a model for the supplementation of resident research funding through a resident-hosted clinical immersion with local industry. Design: Designated research residents hosted multiple groups of engineers and business professionals from local industry in general surgery-focused clinical immersion weeks. The participants in these week-long programs are educated about general surgery and brought to the operating room to observe a variety of surgeries. Setting: This study was performed at the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at a tertiary medical center. Participants: Ten designated research residents hosted general surgery immersion programs. Fifty-seven engineers and business professionals from 5 different local biomedical firms have participated in this program. Results: General surgery research residents (in collaboration with the University of Minnesota's Institute for Engineering in Medicine) have hosted 9 clinical immersion programs since starting the collaborative in 2015. Immersion participant response to the experiences was very positive. Two full-time resident research positions can be funded annually through participation in this program. Conclusions: With decreasing funding available for surgical research, particularly resident research, innovative ways to fund resident research are needed. The general surgery clinical immersion program at the University of Minnesota has proven its value as a supplement for resident research funding and may be a sustainable model for the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)907-910
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of surgical education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
General surgery residency programs have a history of sponsoring 1- to 3-year research fellowships within the standard 5 clinical years of general surgery training. Despite increased clinical duties of both staff surgeons and surgery residents, 1,2 resident research productivity seems to be stable. 1 Surgical research programs have been shown to be helpful in fellowship applications for graduating residents 3 and useful in attaining a future career as an academic surgeon. 4-7 One study demonstrated that over one-third of surgery residents with dedicated research time become independently funded investigators and academic surgeons. 8 Resident research programs have also been argued to be critical to the field of surgery and to the development of academic surgeons. 9 Some argue that the surgeon has a role as both an investigator and clinician; lack of surgical inquiry and research could potentially risk reducing the field to a group of “proceduralists,” hired to perform a task and leaving the decision-making to other physicians. 2 The cost of surgical research fellowship programs is high, with one estimate of the national cost for salary and benefits alone at $41.5 million per year. 3 Vanderbilt University reported a cost of at least $520,000 per year to support their research residents not funded by a National Institutes of Health (NIH) T32 grant in 2014 5 and UCLA medical center reported the cost of a 2-year research fellowship for one resident in 1998 at $350,000. 2,4 Although research funding fluctuates, a relatively low percentage of NIH funding is awarded to surgeons 10 and the proportion of surgeon grant awardees has decreased, 2 which affects surgical residents interested in research. The University of Minnesota General Surgery Residency Program is an academic program that continues the tradition of surgical research and educating future surgeon/scientists and academic surgeons. While a research fellowship during residency is not compulsory, a substantial portion of residents participate in the program’s Surgical Resident Research Program. Maintaining funding for general surgery resident research programs can be difficult. Our institution has developed a unique model to supplement resident research funding through partnership with a collaborating university institute and local industry.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Association of Program Directors in Surgery


  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  • Professionalism
  • Systems-Based Practice
  • education
  • medical research
  • public-private sector Partnerships
  • research funding
  • residency programs


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