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Working together: how to support young interventionalists' interest in research

Workshop moderated by Prof Stephan Windecker and Dr Jakob Dörler - EAPCI Summit 2013

Workshop 2 - "Working together: how to support young interventionalists' interest in research"

A report from Jakob Dörler


The EAPCI core curriculum for interventional cardiology was endorsed to ensure excellence in interventional cardiology and is based on three pillars: Knowledge, skills and professional development.

Knowledge and skills are fundamental to guarantee high quality standards in daily clinical practice, whereas professional development and research ensure excellence and are of pivotal importance for novel evidence and medical advancements. It is therefore an absolute necessity to raise and support the interest of young cardiologists in research.

Who’s interested in research?

In the vast majority of cases the impetus for research is to get a clinical training or research as part of the duty. The genuine interest in research and novelty or the motivation to actively shape the future of the specialty is rare but enthusiasm and personal commitment are critical for the sustainability of research and medical progress.

Funding

A solid financial basis is an absolute requirement in research and needed to be independent.

Main sources of funding are the industry, project-related or personal-related grants on a national basis as well as funding from scientific communities or international public authorities.

Although industrial funding is easier to achieve, a minimum of competitive funding from either national or international sources is necessary to guarantee independence. Given the limited financial resources, applications of young researchers are very likely to fail.

Peers look for credibility reflected by sustained success and coherent research in a distinct field. It is therefore pivotal for young researchers to cooperate with well recognised specialists to be successful with their applications and achieve a sufficient financial basis for their work.

Prerequisites for research & basic rules to make most out of a research stay

  • Knowing the basics of medical statistics or how to review and analyse the literature are well recognised requirements. However, the instructions in these fields as well as GCP-training seem to be limited during medical degree courses. Distinct statistical courses and GCP-trainings organised on an institutional or national basis should cover this gap in education.
  • Language may be another hurdle in career development. Being fluent in at least one foreign language is an absolute necessity since insufficient language skills limit the opportunities for exchange and fellowships.
  • Providing a research plan in advance offers the opportunity to immediately start in a structured way and predefined landmarks help to reflect the progress in research.
  • Experience and knowledge should be shared with colleagues to extend the personal network and international contacts. Moreover, a minimum duration of at least 1year or even more is suggested for a research stay.
  • Looking for additional modes of funding during the research stay is necessary for a prolonged stay and helpful to continue the research at the home institution thereby finally ensuring sustainability in your research.

How to support research and fellowship programs?

A platform for research centres willing to serve as a host seems to be most promising. Centres should be asked to post their research interests, outcomes as well as collaborators and former fellows at that platform. Moreover, they should post their expectations on fellows (e.g. minimum of experience, funding, research plan).

Former research fellows should be asked to share their experience using the platform of young Interventional Cardiologists and to discuss pros and cons of a research stay in distinct sessions during meetings. Already implemented how-to-sessions should be continued and extended (e.g. how-to write a grant application, a research plan) and fellows should have the opportunity of a clinical position after their research fellowship.

To conclude...

Finally, all efforts should help to carry out the EAPCI mission statement on research:

  • Research and innovation are of pivotal importance to contribute to novel evidence, knowledge and advance specialty – competition with other fields in medicine and cardiology
  • Independence of research and funding are an important objective - funding in addition to industry is necessary.
  • Scientific integrity and ownership of research to safeguard against abuse and adhere to ethical principles.

 

The EAPCI offers each year several grants, including for people interested in research. During EuroPCR 2013, 5 candidates have been awarded and will receive 25,000€.
Read more about the EAPCI Fellowship programme.


Read more about the EAPCI Summit 2013.