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Research Challenges and Opportunities for Clinically Oriented Academic Radiology Departments

Published:November 16, 2015DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acra.2015.10.007
      Between 2004 and 2012, US funding for the biomedical sciences decreased to historic lows. Health-related research was crippled by receiving only 1/20th of overall federal scientific funding. Despite the current funding climate, there is increased pressure on academic radiology programs to establish productive research programs. Whereas larger programs have resources that can be utilized at their institutions, small to medium-sized programs often struggle with lack of infrastructure and support. To address these concerns, the Association of University Radiologists' Radiology Research Alliance developed a task force to explore any untapped research productivity potential in these smaller radiology departments. We conducted an online survey of faculty at smaller clinically funded programs and found that while they were interested in doing research and felt it was important to the success of the field, barriers such as lack of resources and time were proving difficult to overcome. One potential solution proposed by this task force is a collaborative structured research model in which multiple participants from multiple institutions come together in well-defined roles that allow for an equitable distribution of research tasks and pooling of resources and expertise. Under this model, smaller programs will have an opportunity to share their unique perspective on how to address research topics and make a measureable impact on the field of radiology as a whole. Through a health services focus, projects are more likely to succeed in the context of limited funding and infrastructure while simultaneously providing value to the field.

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