Hi again questioner237-ga,
Thanks for the clarification. As you state, radiology residency is
quite competitive. Often having even very strong fellowships and
research background are only minimally helpful. If your friend is
going for a high caliber academic place, then research will help,
particularly if it is done at the same or similar institution. For
example, doing research at Mass General will help you get a spot there
or, say, at Brigham & Women's, UCSF, Hopkins, etc. From my own
experience, many places outside of the higher academic echelon are
much less involved in research. This has been a problem that the
national society (RSNA) has been trying to address by offering grants
to residents and faculty to get involved in research (both basic and
First, let me discuss some general strategy and planning regarding research...
I'm not sure that research in radiology requires either a computer
science background or a medical license. With only 1-2 years, your
friend won't be doing a large-scale research project entirely on their
own, so getting through the IRB (Internal Review Board) process, which
would require a license and privileges at an institution, aren't such
One possible approach would be to find a couple of programs that your
friend is interested in and look at what type of work their doing.
Specifically, look at the work the Chairman and residency director are
involved in. Working on a great project in a department with someone
who doesn't have any influence may not turn out to be very fruitful
unless you end up involving other people in the department. Chairs
and residency directors tend to be involved in more of the clinical
and educational research anyway. Larger programs will generally have
more money, but may also be more competitive to get even a
pre-residency research position in.
So, the ideal situation would likely be to apply for and receive a
high profile post-doctoral fellowship to work with someone of
importance in a medium to large academic program. This brings some
prestige to the program and gets your name out there. Unfortunately,
most of these types of post-docs are at least 3 years long and are
sometimes more competitive than getting into a radiology residency.
Planning funding can be the most important and hardest part of getting
involved in any project at any institution. Even big programs might
have all of their applicable research grant "slots" filled, leaving no
simple way to pay your salary and research costs. On the plus side,
these larger programs often have slush funds for short term
supplemental funding, but this is political and its availability often
depends on where your advisor stands with the person who can sign off
on the money.
One example of well regarded extramural funding is the Howard Hughes
Medical Institute grant and fellowship program. The HHMI program of
grants and fellowships are arguably the most prestigious and
competitive awards in the medical field. Here is their main grants
and fellowships page:
Unfortunately, HHMI is no longer awarding post-doctoral fellowships.
They do, however, award research training fellowships for medical
students. Having done one of these fellowships myself, I can say it
is an amazing experience and is a lifelong door-opener. There are
only about 50 fellowships of this type awarded per year (the number
varies). You either do research at the NIH, which might not suit your
purpose, or create a proposal with a faculty member where you plan to
perform the research. This is essentially a grant proposal, and you
want to apply with a faculty member who is familiar with writing
successful grants. You can usually find this out by reading their CV
or Bio online. You can do one year of research and apply for a second
year of funding. Most people do research after their 3rd year, but
they don't have any hard stipulations on this. Here is the HHMI
Medical Student Research Fellow site:
You can essentially do any type of research, but they prefer topics
that have potential clinical impact. A good approach would be to
approach a suitable radiology professor and propose a research topic
that has something to do with work he/she is currently engaged in.
Starting a completely new project with only one year to work is not
usually realistic and you want to work in an environment where there
are a group of people with some expertise to help propel your project
closer to success. Two years of research and a failed project may not
endear you to the faculty, so it's risky. I would propose to apply
for a small grant to support your work, including an HHMI grant if you
qualify. I would discuss with this faculty member the possibility of
being funded on one of their own current grants (e.g., as a research
assistant / research associate) if you are unable to secure your own
funding. It's actually rare to be able to secure your own funding at
the medical student or early post-doc level unless you are primarily
interested in research and have experience in this area. HHMI has a
goal of introducing medical students who don't have significant
experience in medical research to this area in the hope of sparking
their interest in a research career, so they like people who are smart
but don't have experience.
Having a funding backup would ensure that you could begin work in a
lab or department relatively quickly, without the threat of having to
leave if a grant or fellowship didn't go through. Working on a grant
proposal can significantly help you solidify a project and your mutual
goals and evaluate how much can realistically be done in the time
period you have to work with. It also helps you and your advisor get
to know one another better.
Initially I would e-mail potential advisors to get a feel for whether
or not they might be able to take on an additional project and what
kind of experience they have with getting students through projects.
Many primarily clinical, non-academic programs will little or not
experience getting projects done and you would be taking a risk going
into such a setting. Larger programs also have the advantage or
having more projects going on, both long and short term, and more
residency positions that you might ultimately potentially fill when
your project is done.
Some more general advice... Attend all the teaching conferences you
can. These are usually held at least once per day. People will then
get to know your face, personality, and abilities, which will be
perhaps the most important thing when it comes around to ranking time
for residency spots. Present your preliminary results to faculty and
residents at appropriate conferences (e.g., if you're working out a
plan for implementing a new CT protocol, present your findings at a
conference dealing with that topic). These can be short, but they
show others that you are making a tangible contribution to the
Lastly, before you approach a potential advisor, learn something about
their specific work. Google them. Look them up on PubMed and Google
Scholar. Read a review article on their topic of interest. You want
to be at least familiar with the issues and topics of the work you'd
like them to pay you to work on.
Here are some potential fellowships, post-doc positions, and grants
that might be applicable to your situation. Again, you will need to
look at specific programs to better gauge what types of funding to
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
As discussed above, HHMI offers many types of funding, the most
applicable of which would be the HHMI Medical Student scholars
program, unless you have already graduated. They unfortunately no
longer offer the post-doctoral fellowship program.
RSNA (Radiological Society of North America)
RSNA is trying to encourage research efforts at all levels. The site
above includes highlights of some award recipients to give you some
idea of the types of projects they're funding.
You can find more general information about the RSNA Foundation (a
branch of RSNA) here:
One of the best general science funding tools out there is the
Community of Science database (COS):
This free service allows you to enter very specific search
requirements and receive e-mails as new funding opportunities are
announced. The database contains over 400,000 funding opportunities.
It is also useful for finding researchers with funding who are working
on a topic you are interested in. To do some of the searches, you
will need to search from an institution that subscribes to COS.
Another excellent funding database is GrantsNet, a project supported
by HHMI and the American Association for the Advancement of Science
(AAAS), which works similarly to COS:
A simple search of this database for "radiology" turns up numerous
funding sources, not all of which are applicable, but a start:
Yale Radiology has a good list of radiology funding agencies about
half-way down the page:
UCSF has a similar page:
Here are some NIH funded research topics in radiology, to help you get
some ideas of your own and to start thinking about potential advisors
you might approach:
You can also look at the job postings at Aunt Minnie:
Many of the above extramural funding possibilities require US
citizenship, which will be a barrier for your friend. In light of
this, I would lean toward trying to get onto a project that already
has funding. Your friend has a lot of good general skills and some
experience in research, which will be an advantage. It's still tough
for FMG's (or even US grads) to get into radiology in the US in any
case. You can also search for general research assistant positions
posted online to get a foot in the door to a lab or center. Here are
This position seems ideal and specifically states that it would be
good for someone planning to apply for radiology residency. The
position is short (about 4 months), but you might be able to negotiate
a longer stay.
Univ. of Michigan:
Yale MRI research assistant (2 positions):
Another option to consider would be to do a nuclear medicine residency
/ fellowship up front. These are 1-2 year programs that are less
competitive than most standard radiology residencies and can often
lead to a position in the formal residency program upon completion.
There are often some open positions out there that can be filled
outside the Match.
You might also be interested in this Powerpoint presentation on
research in radiology (in PDF format):
You may also have special issues as a foreign medical graduate and
your plan to get some more exposure in the US is likely a good plan.
You might also be interested in this related Answer:
I hope the above information is helpful. Please feel free to request
any clarification prior to rating.
Best of luck to your friend with the remainder of their training.
research radiology funding
research radiology jobs
"research assistant" radiology positions ~posting -"research assistant professor"
"research assistant" radiology apply -"research assistant professor"
"research assistant" radiology apply (BA OR MA OR BS OR MS) (position
OR job) -"research assistant professor"