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P589. The future of academic gastroenterology - insights from a Europe-wide survey of trainees


Concerns regarding the perilous future of academic medicine are widespread among medical specialities due to the increasing number of deterrents for a clinical academic career. No-one knows how gastroenterology will be specifically affected by the reported global decline in doctors pursuing academic medicine. Young ECCO is ideally placed to address this due to its extensive links to trainees throughout Europe and beyond.


We conducted a web-based survey over one year to assess trainees' attitudes towards academic medicine, their intentions (or not) to undertake research, and their opportunities to do so. Trainees were invited to participate via their national societies, by ECCO and by other international organisations including ESPGHAN (paediatric gastroenterology) and ECSP (colorectal surgery).


We received 755 responses from adult GI, paediatric GI and colorectal surgical trainees in 43 countries. Accordingly, this study paints a detailed picture as to what the future of academic gastroenterology might look like, and enables us to assess how participation in, and attitudes towards, research differ between different regions of Europe, how they evolve during training, and how adult/paediatric specialisation influences decision-making. Strikingly, while the demographics of the trainees were similar in all regions, there were marked regional differences in trainees' intentions to undertake research, and their perceived opportunities to do so, which should have important implications both for funding bodies and international groups, such as ECCO. Most alarmingly for the future of academic gastroenterology, we found that 1 in every 4 trainees would like to undertake research, but currently does not have the opportunity to do so locally. The results will be presented in full at ECCO 2014.


This survey, the largest of its kind in any speciality, provides a unique insight into the challenges faced by academic gastroenterology, and clearly highlights the issues that must be tackled by national and international societies, and considered by funding bodies, in order to safeguard the future benefits that academic medicine can bring.

  • Written by:

    J. Lee1, M. Duijvestein2, G. Pellino3, F. Rieder4, F. Scaldaferri5, S. Zeissig6, P. Hindryckx7, T. Raine1, S. Vermeire8, 1University of Cambridge, Department of Medicine, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2Academic Medical Center, Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 3Second University of Naples, Department of Surgery, Naples, Italy, 4Lerner Research Institute, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, United States, 5Catholic University of Rome, Department of Internal Medicine, Rome, Italy, 6University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein, Department of Internal Medicine, Kiel, Germany, 7Ghent University, Department of Gastroenterology, Gent, Belgium, 8Catholic University of Leuven, Department of Internal Medicine and Endoscopy, Leuven, Belgium