The School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University has recently launched a new Physician-Scientist Program. This novel and selective framework will help create a new generation of physicians that will have ‘protected time’ to perform research, with a reduction in their clinical responsibilities.
Applicants must fulfil competitive criteria and are chosen by an expert panel of physicians and PhD researchers.
The program is open for physicians who are at least senior faculty members at the University, and published research papers in leading journals, in accordance with the University standards, as well as won an annual research grant of at least 250K NIS during the last three years. As part of the program, TAU will participate in funding physicians who are taking part in the program in order to ensure ‘protected time’ to perform research in the research labs at the hospitals.
In light of translational programs becoming prominent in biomedical research, physician-scientists are uniquely positioned to point at unmet medical needs, to design innovative solutions in medicine, as well as to test and implement these into their daily routine. Very often, clinical duties are preventing them to engage in significant research to the extent needed. To meet this double challenge, TAU and the hospitals have created the Physician-Scientist Program to allow for dedicated time for research in coordination with clinical duties at the hospital.
The program began in 2023, with two outstanding MDs choosing this path: Dr. Avner Thaler and Prof. Dinah Zur, both from the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (TASMC). The program was recently opened also for MDs from the Israel Schneider Children’s Medical Center.
Prof. Karen Avraham, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, commented: “Combining clinical care with laboratory research offers the possibility of a stimulating and fulfilling career, with a focus on solving biomedical challenges. Not only can these physician-scientists work on curiosity-driven scientific questions, but they can apply them to the everyday challenges they face with treating patients.”
Prof. Eli Sprecher, Vice Dean for Clinical Affairs at the Faculty of Medicine, himself an MD-PhD, is convinced that the new program will transform the research interface between hospitals and the Faculty: "The past years have led us to realize that biomedical research is part of each physician's commitment to patients and their families. The recent advent of powerful and innovative technologies is enabling us to implement this vision into the daily life of academic hospitals. Our new program is one, but very important, step in our journey toward the generation of a strong and vibrant community of physicians-scientists and researchers sharing the same vision and jointly working to shape the medical world of the future".