Training in Surgical Research: EAES initiative

The European Association of Endoscopic Surgeons (EAES) is committed to support high quality research and in response to the recent changes within the organisation, the Research Committee (RC) is proposing an EAES sponsored research training programme. This initiative is aimed at young surgeons to develop and enhance their research skills in order to improve the quality of surgical research within Minimal Invasive Surgery (MIS).

Main objectives:
  • Promote high quality research in MIS through establishment of a network of evidence-based researchers.
  • Promote good surgical research practice among surgical residents by enhancing their understanding and application of optimum research methodology
  • Improve the quality of the studies that are conducted on behalf and or presented at the EAES annual congress
  • Promote networking among the different researcher members of the EAES who will exploit the features of their institutions (patient data, research facilities, surgical techniques, and other) to produce high quality scholarly work.
  • Contribute to the develop a trained scientific work force that could be potential candidates for the RSC and other committees within the EAES

This surgical research training programme will be carried out by the members of the RC and will consist of three main phases:

  1. Research Education Workshop
  2. Research mentorship
  3. Completion of on line research methodology education and assessment
1. Research Education Workshop

This is the first phase of the initiative which will be conducted during the EAES congress as a pre- congress course to surgical residents.  The aim of this phase is to provide an overview on the basics of surgical research with relevance to MAS.  The workshop will cover all aspects from conceiving a research idea; evidence synthesis and a broad cover on the optimum design of case control or cohort study and randomized controlled trial.

This initiative will be open to all young EAES members for the next EAES congress London 2018 through an open competition (will be advertised through the EAES website), and according to the selection criteria (see below), inviting residents to apply for this sponsored research educational scheme.

Eligibility criteria to attend the workshop:
  • Surgical residents (or within 3 years from completion of training)
  • No higher degree in research (e.g PhD)
  • Fluent English speaking
  • Statement of  commitment from the delegate, stating:
  • Their background and any prior research experience,
  • Their level of commitment towards research
  • A clear mission statement justifying the reasons why they wish to undergo training in research in MAS
  • Propose an initial research idea that could be considered as a potential research project for the next phase (maximum 200 words)
  • Letter of support from their supervisor or head of the Department, stating:
  • The level of commitment from the unit towards supporting research in general and the delegate in particular
  • The will to provide the necessary support (including the required time) and resources to the resident to undertake research
  • The potential impact of research training on the resident’s academic future/career
  • The potential impact of research training on the overall unit’s research strategy

Following the workshop, the residents are asked to submit a mini research proposal (maximum 300 words) describing their research idea, the need for the research, the proposed methodology and projected impact of the study (to be submitted after 3 months from attending the workshop).  The residents will be encouraged to submit realistic and pragmatic projects that are expected to complete within the mentorship period (one year). The final decision to proceed to the mentorship phase will be based on the presentation of the research proposal and the ability to explain the need for the study; the level of commitment of the residents and the supervisor/ head of Department and the performance at the workshop. The top 5 proposals will be selected for the next phase (mentorship).

2. Research mentorship

In this phase, the five selected residents will undergo a structured research mentorship programme.  The mentor (a member of the RSC, or other committees) will share their knowledge and experience with a resident (mentee) to enhance the skills in the selected research project.  The mentorship programme is aimed to complete in one year with a clear and measurable outcome for completion of the research project which must be defined at the beginning of mentorship.  This outcome could be either dissemination of results through submission of manuscript for publication and or submission of a grant application to either the EAES or to an external funding body.  Small funding bursaries (up to 10K euro) may be provided by the EAES to support initiating the project and the mentorship process.  The format of the mentorship will be left to the discretion of the mentor and mentee but here are some guideline:

Good mentoring should begin with:
  • A clear understanding of mutual responsibilities
  • A clear understanding of the role of the mentor, mentee and the local supervisor (if any)
  • A commitment to maintain a productive and supportive research environment
  • Proper supervision and review with an agreed framework of feedback
  • An understanding that the main purpose of the relationship is to prepare mentees to become successful researchers

The mentors would have had a chance to meet all the potential mentees at the workshop and they will be communicating through webinars, skype and other electronic platforms.  The mentor role is completely voluntarily as there is no expected re-imbursement for the mentor or their institution for undertaking this role.  However, it is expected that the mentee should respect mentors’ time and use resources responsibly.

Optimum features of good mentors:

  • Mentors should support mentees to find ways of achieving their objectives and resolving issues such as through developing a personal strategy, a plan and targets for their research
  • Act as a “role model” for his or her mentees and to promote the highest quality good clinical practice in research
  • Maintain professionalism throughout the mentorship, focusing on accountability and honesty
  • Act as a critic, evaluator, and assessor and provides guidance with innovation and creative thinking
  • Listen, be reflective and lead by example
  • Stay involved in terms of time and effort
  • May need to facilitate with contacts and networking and to help the individual to develop their research and comply with the requirements of their field.

Expectation from mentees:

  • Maintain regular and frequent contacts with the mentor
  • Listen to their mentor and reflect on the mentor’s observations
  • Encouraged to share their progress with the mentor, ask for advice and inform the mentor about the results of various efforts.
  • Should respect mentors’ time and use resources responsibly

The outcome of the mentorship is to submit a full research proposal through the EAES grant funding by 30th March 2018. Three to Five small grants will be selected by April-May 2018.

3. On line research methodology education and assessment

An additional (an optional) educational module will be provided.  The aim of this project is to provide an on line educational material and resources to help the resident to have in-depth understanding of research methodology and assessment that can assist them in their research project.  There will be an online assessment module (optional for those residents who wish to pursue an EAES certificate in surgical research).