Background and General Program Structure
The Society of Neurological Surgeons has established a two-year Neurosurgeon-Scientist Training Program (NSTP) to increase the pool of neurosurgery residents conducting research and to enhance their success rate in becoming independent neurosurgeon-scientists. Additional research by clinician-scientist neurosurgeons is critical to the fundamental discovery that advances new methods of care and new cures. The NSTP will serve as a formal mentored research program for those neurosurgery residents who are beginning a protected research year or who have already completed their protected research year. The primary goal of this new program is to provide participants with the skills, mentorship, education, and experience needed to successfully compete for individual research funding (e.g., NIH K award and R01 grants) and launch productive research careers. Awardees have access to neurosurgeon-scientist mentors through a national network organization and will participate in the Annual NINDS R25 workshop.
Applicants will submit a written application to the program and be interviewed virtually by a selection committee. It is anticipated that up to 4-5 candidates per year will be selected based on the application process. Selected residents beginning their protected year of research in Year 1 of the NSTP program will be provided a travel stipend to attend the CNS and NINDS R25 neurosurgeon-scientist symposiums in the fall and spring, respectively. All those selected for support in Year 1 will be assigned a central NSTP mentor, who will work synergistically with the awardee’s local mentor to guide the awardee. All awardees who complete Year 1 of the program will be eligible to apply for funding to support continuation of their research project in the year after their Year 1 support (i.e., Year 2). Residents are eligible for continued support in Year 2 whether they are continuing with protected research time or going back into clinical training full-time. Residents who have completed a year of protected research outside of the NSTP can also apply for Year 2 entry into the NSTP. The key to obtaining research support in Year 2 will be making good progress in their research during Year 1, clear plans for use of the Year 2 funding and a well-considered, specific plan to successfully use the Year 2 funding to help transition to a K award application.
The request for proposals (RFP) will be launched in January 2024. Applicant interviews for entry into Years 1 and 2 will be completed virtually in the spring and award winners will be announced in May. The NSTP start date for both Years 1 and 2 will be July 1, 2024. NSTP Applications are due by March 15, 2024, and awards will be announced by June 2024.