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Joint Faculty of Surgical Trainers & ASME Research Grants

The Faculty of Surgical Trainers (FST) and the Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME) have come together in a ground-breaking partnership to launch a series of research grants to promote research in this vital area. 

These grants, of up to £3,000, can be used to support either a research study or evaluation of a teaching innovation in any field of surgical education and training.

What is the purpose of the grant?

The small research grants are intended to support evaluation or research into surgical education and training. Projects should either lead directly to improvements in surgical training practice or increase our understanding of an aspect of surgical training. There are no specific themes for this call, and all applications will be considered on their merits.

Applications have now closed.


Application form and full guidance notes.

Grant Recipients

We are pleased to announce the following recipients of the joint ASME / Faculty of Surgical Trainers Research Grants:

NameJob TitleResearch TitleOverview

 James Ashcroft

Joint 2021 awardee


Academic Clinical Fellow, Department of Surgery, University of Cambridge


Exploring the legitimate participation of surgical trainees within the operating room

 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

Joint 2021 awardee


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


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.

Aimee Marie Charnell


General Surgery Fellow, Leeds Institute of Medical Education

How do surgical trainees learn Outpaitent Clinics? A video-reflexive ethnography study.

Outpatient clinics form a significant workload within surgical practice, both for consultants and trainees. In other elements of surgery, training is incremental; however, in clinics, large responsibility is often given early in surgical training. While learning in the outpatient clinic has been studied previously, it is yet to be explored by observing trainees in their natural clinical practice. This study examines how trainees learn within outpatient clinics by filming trainees completing outpatient clinics. Clips chosen by the traineeand Consultant will be shown to multi-diciplinary surgical teams who will determine how to best support trainees in clinics.

Karin Baajtes


Head of Division of Clinical Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Real-life procedural videos: an additional assessment tool for structured oral examinations of surgical trainees?

The global COVID pandemic provides opportunities for innovation in the postgraduate surgical teaching program. Real-life recordings of procedural surgery cases as an addition to the traditional teaching methods seems fitting.   These videos also have the potential to be utilised during surgical oral assessments. An additional benefit of the recordings is the possibility of remote application, thereby limiting person-to person contact as well as long distance travel to exam venues in wide geographical areas.  The COVID pandemic has stimulated the revision of teaching and assessment practices in our surgical curriculum, but thorough evaluation of such actions should be researched.

Kartik Logishetty


Speciality Trainee in T&O, North West London Training Programme

Can team training in virtual reality improve performance of complex open surgery?

In its simplest form, the surgical team is comprised of the surgeon, an assistant, and an instrument technician (a scrub nurse). Failures in teamwork and communication are a more common cause of mistakes during surgery than the surgeon’s technical skill. Currently, these team members are not routinely trained together, so there may be variation from day-to-day. Virtual Reality (VR) headsets place the wearer in a simulated operating room and use virtual instruments to perform surgery. This research will ask if team-training for hip replacement in VR is safer and more effective than the status quo – training separately, before performing surgery together. 

Arpan Tahim

ST5 doctoral student with the Institute of Education Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, London Deanery

Understanding Workplace-Based Assessment – How Surgeons Learn through the Use of Workplace-Based Assessment during Specialist Training

Study investigating how surgeons in training learn through workplace-based assessment (WBA). The study will be conducted through UCL Institute of Education and aims to better understand the complex social-interactional processes that occur during WBAs and the learning that subsequently results from them. It will involve audiovisual analysis of the in-situ WBAs, which surgeons in training undergo, triangulated with data derived from completed assessment proformas and participant interviews.

Joshil Lodhia 

Cardiothoracic Trainee, Leeds General Infirmary

Quantitative motion analysis of surgical skills to assess improvement in trainees’ performance following deliberate practice


Surgical training in previous decades was dependant on speed of operating and obtaining a high volume of operative cases. Due to the European Working Time Directive and the need to ensure highest standards, trainees are no longer able to obtain this volume. Training in the art of surgery needs to become more explicit. This study aims to assess the fine movements of surgery with the use of magnetic sensors. This will allow both trainers and trainees to ensure the subtleties of surgery can be developed in a safe environment outside theatres before ensuring a high level of skill. 


Paul Sutton

Specialty Registrar and Honorary Senior Lecturer, University of Liverpool

Exploring clinical decision making amongst surgical trainees in a simulated environment

Clinical decision making is a relatively poorly understood non-technical skill, but one which is essential to surgeons both in and out of the operating theatre. We have planned an exploratory pilot study to help better understand clinical decision making in an acute clinical setting, specifically the assessment and management of the critically ill surgical patient. The study utilises a simulated scenario, after which the participant watches the video with the investigator and the performance is evaluated using teach-back interviewing. The transcripts of these interviews will be thematically analysed using standardised techniques to explore behaviourism with respect to decision making.

Sotiris Papaspyros

ST7 Cardiothoracic trainee, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary

Reliability of low fidelity simulation models in acquisition of basic surgical skills outside the operating room. The role of deliberate practice

Surgical training has evolved to conform with several limitations: Shorter work-week for residents, increasing complexity of cases, emphasis on operating room efficiency and mitigation of medical errors.

Acquisition of basic surgical skills can take place outside the operating room on low-fidelity, readily available simulation materials (bananas, potatoes, poached eggs).

Deliberate practice can provide the educational framework to achieve competence in surgical tasks (needle rotation, economy of movement, pace).

We aim to provide evidence that low-fidelity simulation models and deliberate practice can, reliably and consistently, be used to teach novice aspiring surgeons basic surgical skills outside the operating room.

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We apologise for any inconvenience caused.