The rapid development of new drugs, therapies, and devices has created a dramatic increase in the number of clinical research studies that highlights the need for greater participation in research by physicians as well as patients. Furthermore, the potential of clinical research is unlikely to be reached without greater participation of physicians in research. Physicians face a variety of barriers with regard to participation in clinical research. These barriers are system-or organization-related as well as research-and physician-related. To encourage physician participation, appropriate organizational and operational infrastructures are needed in health care institutes to support research planning and management. All physicians should receive education and training in the fundamentals of research design and methodology, which need to be incorporated into undergraduate medical education and postgraduate training curricula and then reinforced through continuing medical education. Medical schools need to analyze current practices of teaching-learning and research, and reflect upon possible changes needed to develop a 'student-focused teaching-learning and research culture'. This article examines the barriers to and benefits of physician participation in clinical research as well as interventions needed to increase their participation, including the specific role of undergraduate medical education. The main challenge is the unwillingness of many physicians and patients to participate in clinical trials. Barriers to participation include lack of time, lack of resources, trial-specific issues, communication difficulties, conflicts between the role of clinician and scientist, inadequate research experience and training for physicians, lack of rewards and recognition for physicians, and sometimes a scientifically uninteresting research question, among others. Strategies to encourage physician participation in clinical research include financial and nonfinancial incentives, adequate training, research questions that are in line with physician interests and have clear potential to improve patient care, and regular feedback. Finally, encouraging research culture and fostering the development of inquiry and research-based learning among medical students is now a high priority in order to develop more and better clinician-researchers.
Keywords: clinical research; clinical trial; medical education; physician.