Purpose: The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Clinical Scientist Development Award (CSDA) supports early-career physician scientists in their transition to independent research funding. The authors aimed to analyze the characteristics associated with success in CSDA competitions, determine whether attainment of a CSDA is associated with receiving subsequent research funding, and assess whether alumni remain in research.
Method: In 2011, the authors tested for associations between gender, age, race/ethnicity, academic degree, National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding rank of the applicant's institution, and success in CSDA competitions. They compared NIH R01 grant attainment, defined as the percentage of individuals who received at least one R01 grant, between CSDA alumni and highly ranked but unsuccessful CSDA applicants (1998-2007). Finally, the authors surveyed alumni to learn more about their professional activities.
Results: Demographic factors were not predictors of success in CSDA competitions; academic degree and funding rank of the applicant's institution, however, were. A greater percentage of CSDA alumni than nonalumni received at least one R01 grant (62% [74/120] versus 42% [44/105]). For CSDA alumni who were 10 or more years from the start of their award, their median percent effort toward research activities was 68%.
Conclusions: The factors associated with success in a CSDA competition included a combined clinical and doctoral research degree and affiliation with a well-funded institution. More alumni received NIH independent research funding than those who applied but did not receive the award. Thus, the CSDA is associated with physicians establishing independent and recognized research careers.