Federal research funding and academic productivity in pediatric urology: from early career to research independence.


Department of Surgery, Division of Urology, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA; Department of Urology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA; Center for Healthcare Studies, Institute for Public Health and Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA. Electronic address: [Email]


BACKGROUND : Federal grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) are crucial for early career physician-scientists. Federal funding success has been explored in other surgical specialties, but has not been evaluated in pediatric urology.
OBJECTIVE : To characterize factors associated with receipt of federal grants, hypothesizing that pediatric urologists who were have advanced research degree(s) were more likely to be federally funded.
METHODS : All pediatric fellowship graduates from 1985-2016 listed on the Societies for Pediatric Urology and institutional websites were queried using the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools. Primary outcomes were successful receipt of federal grants and transition from mentor-based to independent funding. The secondary outcome was publication rate on PubMed as of November 2017. Covariables included advanced degree(s) (eg, PhD, MPH, MSc, etc), sex, and year of fellowship graduation (1985-2006 versus 2007-2016).
RESULTS : Of 445 pediatric urologists (73% male), 36 (8%) were federal grant recipients. Of 18 mentor-based awardees, 9 (50%) transitioned to independent awards. After adjusting for sex and year of fellowship graduation, having an advanced degree(s) was associated with funding success for mentor-based awards (hazard ratio [HR] 3.83 [95% confidence interval, 1.21-12.14], p = 0.02; Summary Table) and independent awards (HR 3.11 [1.21-8.02], p = 0.02), and with higher publication rates (incident rate ratio [IRR] 2.03 [1.43-2.87], p < 0.001). Recent training (2007-2016) was also associated with higher publication rates (IRR 2.70 [2.16-3.37], p < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS : Among fellowship-trained pediatric urologists in North America between 1985 and 2016, the prevalence of federal grant recipients was 8%. Pediatric urologists who had an advanced educational degree were more likely to be a federally funded grant recipient and have a higher publication rate.
CONCLUSIONS : Fellowship programs should consider adding opportunities for self-selected applicants to pursue additional research training and degrees.


Career development,Grant funding,Medical education,Pediatric urology fellowship,Research funding,Surgeon-scientist,

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