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Role of non-government organizations in engaging medical students in research
  1. Branavan Manoranjan1,2,
  2. Ayan K Dey1,3,
  3. Xin Wang1,3,
  4. Alexandra Kuzyk1,4,
  5. Karen Petticrew5,
  6. Chris Carruthers5,
  7. Ian Arnold5
  1. 1Clinician-Investigator Trainee Association of Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine MD/PhD Program, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3University of Toronto School of Medicine MD/PhD Program, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  4. 4University of Manitoba School of Medicine MD/PhD Program, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  5. 5Mach-Gaensslen Foundation of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ian M F Arnold, Mach-Gaensslen Foundation of Canada, c/o Perley-Robertson, Hill, and McDougall LLP, 1400–340 Albert Street, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1R 0A5; imfarnold{at}


The continued decline in medical trainees entering the workforce as clinician-scientists has elevated the need to engage medical students in research. While past studies have shown early exposure to generate interest among medical students for research and academic careers, financial constraints have limited the number of such formal research training programs. In light of recent government budget cuts to support research training for medical students, non-government organizations (NGOs) may play a progressively larger role in supporting the development of clinician-scientists. Since 2005, the Mach-Gaensslen Foundation has sponsored 621 Canadian medical student research projects, which represents the largest longitudinal data set of Canadian medical students engaged in research. We present the results of the pre- and post-research studentship questionnaires, program evaluation survey and the 5-year and 10-year follow-up questionnaires of past recipients. This paper provides insight into the role of NGOs as stakeholders in the training of clinician-scientists and evaluates the impact of such programs on the attitudes and career trajectory of medical students. While the problem of too few physicians entering academic and research-oriented careers continues to grow, alternative-funding strategies from NGOs may prove to be an effective approach in developing and maintaining medical student interest in research.

  • Medical Research
  • Education, Medical
  • Students
  • Translational Medical Research
  • Academic Medical Centers

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  • Competing interests KP, CC, and IA are associated with MGF and provided the longitudinal data sets to members of CITAC (BM, AKD, XW and AK). CITAC members performed all data analysis without influence from members of MGF. BM was a prior recipient of an MGF summer research grant.

  • Ethics approval Research Ethics Board at all participating home institutions of students participating in the research grant program.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.