Clinician Scientist

The Link between Research and Care

The career path "researching physician" is a great challenge. Besides the daily clinical routine, there is hardly any time for ambitious research projects. Therefore, there is a lack of clinical researchers. To counteract this, the Medical Faculty has set up funding programs to enable young researchers to pursue a structured and long-term scientific career alongside their clinical career. The aim is to train a new generation of translationally trained research physicians who will quickly transfer scientific findings into application.

Untersuchung in der Sportambulanz
© Johann F. Saba / UKB

Development at the University Medicine Bonn

As early as 1995, the Faculty of Medicine adopted the BONFOR programme, which is intended to improve the framework conditions for young scientists and to support high-quality research projects. Today, various instruments such as the SciMed and Gerok scholarships are part of the BONFOR research funding programme, which specifically support physicians interested in research at various career stages.

Timeline Clinician Scientist
© Rainer Bauszat / UKB

The first Clinician Scientist Program was initially funded by the EKFS (Else Kröner Research College). Through additional funding from the faculty and the university hospital, the program was expanded and supported young physicians from various hospitals until 2021. As a further supplementary funding instrument for clinician scientists with an oncological research focus, the Mildred Scheel School of Oncology (MSSO) recently followed. In cooperation between the clinics and basic research groups as well as theoretical institutes, the fellows work on their own projects, made possible by protected, flexible time intervals for research, material funding and mentoring. Specific to the research focus area on neurosciences, the DFG funded Neuro-aCSis (since 2022) and Hertie Network of Excellence in Neurosciences (since 2020) programmes were established.

In particular, to support female physicians in more advanced postdoctoral training paths, the annual funding calls FEMHABIL and FEMAPL were launched by the Medical Faculty. These are intended to enable more female physicians to achieve these academic goals, particularly in this difficult career phase of habilitation and subsequent postdoctoral training. In addition, the MeTra program of the University of Bonn, which was launched in 2004, offers a special mentoring program specifically to support young female scientists.

In addition, funding opportunities are being expanded through the ACCENT programme (Advanced Clinician Scientist Program Bonn). The faculty and the UKB have received a corresponding commitment from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in 2021. The target group of this additional funding is young scientists in their establishment phase after qualification as a specialist. The aim here is to create protected research periods in university medicine for senior medical staff, to show transparent career paths and goals, and thus to retain and further develop this important young academic talent.

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© Uni Bonn

Funding Opportunities at the University Medicine Bonn

During the Studies

Funding of an experimental doctoral thesis within the framework of the SciMed doctoral program of the Medical Faculty.

The SciMed doctoral scholarship offers scientifically motivated students of human medicine and dentistry the opportunity to gain an early start in biomedical research with a challenging experimental dissertation.

For more information on the SciMed doctorate Scholarship, please visit here.

The SciMed Doctoral Academic Study Community offers successful applicants a structured doctoral training program to become Dr. med. / Dr. med. dent. with continuous doctoral scholarship support. The instruments accompanying the doctoral training include:

- an overarching methodological training
- Mentor interviews and scientific supervision
- Evaluation (midterm report)

The fellowship is funded by BONFOR grants. Purely clinically oriented scientific doctoral theses are also eligible for funding. It is a prerequisite that the doctoral studies take place at the Medical Faculty Bonn and that the doctoral candidate is enrolled there.

For more information on the SciMed Doctoral Academic Study Community, please visit here.

Research trainging group of the Medical Faculty sponsored by the Else Kröner-Fresenius Foundation

The NeuroImmunology training group opens up an additional scientific qualification to scientifically motivated medical students.

The basis for the EKFS doctoral program of the Faculty of Medicine is the intensive cooperation of the SFB 1089 in the research area Neurosciences and the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation² in the research area Immunosciences and Infection. By integrating structured training for medical doctoral students in these two institutions, future fellows will be offered completely new subject areas at the thematic interface of neurosciences and immunology against the background of state-of-the-art research infrastructure, as well as a high-quality supervisory environment in internationally renowned research groups.

Successful applicants will receive a structured doctoral training program leading to the degree of Dr.med. with continuous doctoral scholarship support. The instruments accompanying the doctorate include:

  • An overarching methodological training
  • Mentoring and close scientific supervision
  • Evaluation (Midterm-Report).

For more information on the NeuroImmunology Doctoral College, please visit here4.

Funding of a translational oncology project within the framework of the MSSO Cologne-Bonn.

The MSSO ABCD offers a structured, multidisciplinary training program in translational oncology. Under excellent research conditions, young scientists are supported at different stages of their career.

The MSSO Research Scholarship ensures research time needed for an excellent PhD thesis. A guaranteed 12-month release from clinical obligations ensures that particularly qualified medical students can concentrate entirely on their translational research project.

The program is tailored to provide fellows with a wide range of research and educational opportunities at the universities in Cologne and Bonn.

Doctoral accompanying instruments include:

  • Lectures, seminars and courses
  • Mentoring and close scientific supervision
  • Evaluation.

More information about the MSSO program can be found here5.

After Graduation

The Gerok scholarship is aimed at young physicians from clinical institutions and gives them the opportunity to take a complete break from their clinical work during their residency training in order to pursue their scientific work exclusively.

In addition, the possibility was created to apply for a junior research group in parallel to a Gerok grant after the first Gerok funding year, if the relevant requirements are met.

For more information on the Gerok Scholarship, please visit here7.

The MSSO ABCD offers a structured, multidisciplinary training program in translational oncology. Under excellent research conditions, young scientists are supported at different stages of their career.

Clinician Scientists and Postdocs (natural scientists) are supported in a program that provides young scientists from Cologne and Bonn with relevant and up-to-date training to further their careers in translational cancer research.

More information about the MSSO program can be found here5.

The Bonn Neuroscience Clinician Scientist Programme is funded by the DFG and aimed at assistant physicians who are in the middle of their specialist training. The scientific focus is on the connections between diseases of the nervous system and systemic factors.

For this purpose, a protected release of 66% of the working time for research activities is guaranteed over a period of 3 years (100% in the first year, 50% in each of the following two years).

Further information on the programme can be found here.

In addition to the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research in Tübingen, five other locations throughout Germany belong to the Hertie Network of Excellence in Neurosciences, including Bonn. The basis for the network is the scientific qualification programme "Hertie Academy of Clinical Neuroscience". For each location, the four best minds from the fields of clinician and medical scientists take part in the Hertie Academy for a period of three years. The programme began its work at the start of 2020.

Further information on the programme can be found here.

The Medical Faculty of the University of Bonn and the University Hospital Bonn  received funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) to establish an "Advanced Clinician Scientist" (ACS) program.

Thematically, the program is located between the two profile areas "Immunopathogenesis and Organ Dysfunction" and "Brain and Neurodegeneration". Thus, it is especially aimed at researching specialists with a focus on immunology, neuroscience, genetics and epidemiology as well as cardiovascular diseases and oncology. In addition to their clinical work, the scholarship holders will be closely linked to research networks already established in Bonn, such as Collaborative Research Centers and the Cluster of Excellence ImmunoSensation², through co-affiliations with research institutes. The funding is intended to provide the physicians with a release of 50% of their working time for research activities over a period of five years. In addition, you will be offered an extensive accompanying program with mentoring and coaching options.

For more information on the program and future calls for proposals, please visit here.

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