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Joint Faculty of Surgical Trainers & ASME Research Grants

23 August 2021

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Since 2016 The Faculty of Surgical Trainers (FST) and the Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME) have come together in partnership to award a series of research grants to support either a research study or evaluation of a teaching innovation in any field of surgical education and training.  Collectively we are delighted to announce two successful applications this year who share a total of £3,000 for their respective projects.

James Ashcroft, Academic Clinical Fellow, Department of Surgery, University of Cambridge

“Exploring the legitimate participation of surgical trainees within the operating room”

James Ashcroft Photo 

In the operating room, newcomers to surgery are inducted into a unique world by shadowing a skilled mentor in an entirely new physical environment with a host of new surrounding faces. The goal of this study is to understand how surgical trainees, through their participation in the operating room community of practice, can learn to ‘become a surgeon’. A multi-method strategy of observing and interviewing surgical trainees will be undertaken with reference to their experiences in the operating room. The evidence gained from this study will give insights into how to support the trainer-trainee relationship in modern surgical training.

Matyas Fehervari, General and UGI Surgical Registrar in the NW London Deanery, Association of Surgeons of Training NW London Representative, and Research Fellow, Imperial College

“Validation of online laparoscopic surgical training”

Matyas Fehervari Photo

Online surgical skills teaching has the advantages to serve learners simultaneously in different regions, reduce the cost, time and carbon footprint of travel. It offers more equity in access to resources compared to face-to-face tutorials. Our previous experience with online hands on surgical skills teaching suggest that most of skills development originates from the learner own experience with the instruments. Building on this we will set up a trial online key-hole surgical skills course with trainers only virtually present and compare learning outcomes and development of skills to simultaneously held traditional face-to-face teaching.


The research grants are intended to support evaluation or research into surgical education and training. Projects will either lead directly to improvements in surgical training practice or increase our understanding of an aspect of surgical training.

Last year’s recipient Aimee Charnell explored how surgical trainees learn in clinics with the support of video footage. Her study investigated how surgical trainers consider the Capabilities in Practice (CiPs) when trainees attend outpatient clinics and how surgical trainees are best supported when seeing patients in clinics.

On receipt of her award, Ms Charnell said:

‘My project explores how trainees learn in clinics, the grant has allowed me to purchase tiny (GoPro) cameras, which I have been able to stick on the wall in the corner of the room and be barely visible.  The next step will be analysing the videos and writing up my PhD thesis.’

The Faculty of Surgical trainers recognise the value of this support and are proud to continue working with ASME to award the joint grant.

“As pressure mounts on UK surgical teams, there is a growing impact of the quality of training on offer to those emerging onto the front line. Research is a key area that contributes to this training and bringing expertise where it is needed.”  Mr David O’Regan, Director of the Faculty of Surgical Trainers.

The Association for the Study of Medical Education said of the long-standing partnership:

“One of ASME’s top five core values is collaboration, and so we value the opportunity to collaborate with FST to offer research funding and the opportunity to present at our Annual Scholarship Meeting for surgical trainees or consultants who wish to undertake medical education research”. Professor Karen Mattick, Director of Awards ASME

On behalf of FST and ASME, we offer congratulation and best wishes to Mr Ashcroft and Mr Fehervari as they begin their projects and we look forward to sharing their progress with you further.

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