Clinician-Scientists: Can They Survive in the Modern Era?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Clinician-scientists are commonly characterized as health care professionals who are proficient in both research and clinical practice. Their dual expertise positions them to play a vital role in translating research outcomes to clinical practice. However, economic changes in the past few decades are threatening their very survival. The purposes of this article are to review some of the economic forces that pose the greatest risks to clinician-scientists in the modern era and to glean lessons from the business world in overcoming these challenges. Health care consolidation and decreasing reimbursements are putting increasing financial pressure on academic institutions, leaving them more inclined to cut back on departmental research support. Innovative companies commit a certain percentage of their revenue to research and discovery. Academic institutions should similarly view their research budget as research and discovery that will sustain the future growth of radiology. They should quantify and define expectations for academic productivity, focus on return on investment, and bolster the infrastructure to foster commercial partnerships that can provide additional revenue to support the research mission. Success in academics does not occur by accident. It requires more than individual talent and hard work. It also requires institutional leaders who are committed to developing future academic leaders and supporting innovation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-197
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Academic productivity
  • clinician-scientist
  • reimbursement
  • research and discovery (R&D)
  • return on investment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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