Frequently Asked Questions

What is a clinician-scientist?

Clinician-scientists are individuals who both practice medicine and conduct research. In Canada, clinician-scientists have typically completed a MD and a PhD, MSc, research fellowship, or other form of advanced research training. Clinician-scientists can be found in a wide range of medical and surgical specialties, as well as domains of research, and are frequently involved in translating scientific discoveries into clinical care in a process called “bench-to-bedside research”. In addition to these roles, clinician-scientists can be involved in teaching at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels, hold roles in medical and scientific leadership, and are integral to the adoption of evidence-based medical and scientific policies at the governmental level. A clinician-scientist career is a multi-faceted, collaborative, and ever-changing career path that offers many exciting opportunities!

What training routes are available to become a clinician-scientist?

There are many routes to becoming a clinician-scientist; most commonly, these include:
  • MD/PhD: A common route to a clinician-scientist career is to complete a dual MD and PhD program. These programs are offered at many Canadian universities and typically require 7-10 years of training. Medical and graduate training are either completed sequentially or in multiple stages. For more information about which universities offer MD/PhD training, see below.
  • MD/MSc: Dual programs that combine MD and MSc training can also lead to clinician-scientist careers. MSc degrees are often completed prior to, or at an intermediate stage of, MD training. For more information about which universities offer MD/MSc training, see below.
  • CIP: Clinician-Investigator Programs (CIP) foster the development of clinician-scientists during postgraduate training. CIP trainees have completed their MD and pursue advanced research training during residency. CIP programs can be used to obtain graduate degrees, such as a PhD or MSc.
  • Prior graduate training: Clinician-scientists can obtain graduate training prior to beginning medical school, thus completing both training routes independently. By pursuing research opportunities during their medical training, trainees can prepare themselves for a dual career that integrates their experience in medicine and research.

Which universities offer clinician-scientist training?

CITAC has compiled this resource with details about the various dual degree programs offered by Faculties of Medicine across Canada.

Can I receive mentorship and/or support with preparing my applications?

CITAC has partnered with Community of Support to provide undergraduate students with mentorship from the clinician-scientist trainee community. COS is a University of Toronto-based program that aims to support students who are Black, Indigenous, Filipino, socioeconomically disadvantaged, and/or who identify with having a disability pursue a career in the health professions. More information about COS can be found on their website. If you are interested in participating in this mentorship program, please contact us for more information at contact@citac.org.

How can I get involved with CITAC?

There are many opportunities to be involved with CITAC’s activities throughout the year! Becoming involved in CITAC’s leadership structure is an excellent way to learn more about the organization and connect the clinician-scientist trainee community across Canada. CITAC’s Board of Directors is elected following the Annual Joint Meeting each year, held in October/November. Following the election of the Board of Directors, an application period is held for Chair positions and appointments are made by the following January. Details about elections and applications are shared via our newsletter and social media channels; connect with us to ensure you stay up to date as information is released!

How can I hear from CITAC about relevant opportunities and events?

We regularly share updates about events, seminars, workshops, and other opportunities via our email newsletter and social media channels. Subscribe to our mailing list and follow us on Twitter @CITAC_ACCFC. To connect with the clinician-scientist trainee community across Canada, join the Canadian Physician-Scientist Community group on Facebook and engage with other trainees!

How can I share my ideas and/or feedback with CITAC?

We’d love to hear from you! If you have any ideas, feedback, or suggestions for our team, email us at operations@citac-accfc.org and we will follow up with you shortly.