Introduction: In the 1990s, the publication and PhD recruitment rates following the Danish pre-graduate research programme (PGRP) in medicine were 54% and 33%, respectively. Updated estimates are unknown.
Methods: All medical students enrolled in the PGRP at the Faculty of Medicine, Aarhus University (Health), Denmark, during 2003-2012 were included (n = 687). The PGRP files were merged with PhD students' files at Health. A systematic literature search was completed for research students who had enrolled during the 2006-2009 period (n = 227). The factors investigated were student age, sex, PGRP completion time and years in medical school at the time of PGRP initiation. Supervisors were described by sex, title, position and affiliation. Calculations were tested by the chi-squared test; p < 0.05 was considered significant.
Results: A larger proportion of male medical students conducted a PGRP compared to female medical students (28% versus 19%; p < 0.01). Within three and a half years from PGRP initiation, 13% of the research students had enrolled in a PhD programme at Health, and 52% had published ≥ 1 paper with ≥ 1 supervisor. The research student was the first author on 43% of the overall 224 papers, and 90% were original articles. Publication was positively associated with completion of the PGRP in < 18 months and with embarking on a PhD and with having a male main supervisor. PhD recruitment was related to enrolment in the PGRP after fewer years in medical school.
Conclusions: Fast completion of the PGRP and early enrolment in the programme were associated with scientific publishing and PhD recruitment. The publication rate has remained stable over time.