Resident Research Track - UW Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine

Resident Research Track

The Resident Research Track (RRT) is a six-month research experience for motivated, research-oriented individuals in their final year of residency. The goal of the RRT is to provide training in research techniques and scientific methods to residents interested in academic careers, and to generate data suitable for presentation at a local, regional, or national scientific meeting.

Following completion of the RRT, residents are expected to continue their research training during a fellowship or faculty appointment. For example, RRT training may be the first six months in the 18-month continuum of the Research Fellowship Grant for residents sponsored by the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER).

Program Overview

During the 6-month RRT program, approximately 80% time is devoted to research activities and 20% time (1 day per week) is reserved for patient care activities necessary to maintain clinical skills. Two RRT positions are offered each year for CA-3 residents. RRT residents are expected to use one out of the total three weeks of annual vacation during the 6 month research rotation.

Residents undertaking the RRT are not eligible for an elective month in their CA-3 year. RRT residents are required to take 2 mandatory rotations, cardiac and pediatrics, and 4 rotations of their choice during the remaining 6 months of clinical rotations.

Residents interested in the RRT are encouraged to begin exploring potential research opportunities in the fall of their CA-2 year. Interested residents should meet with the Vice Chair for Research prior to identifying potential mentors and research projects.

 The RRT is directed by the Scholarship Oversight Committee. This committee is comprised of the Vice Chair for Clinical Research, the Vice Chair for Basic Research, and at least two (2) senior investigators who are faculty of the Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine; the faculty members are from the Bonica Scholars Oversight Committee. The RRT Oversight Committee is responsible for reviewing resident applications, selecting appropriate residents to participate in the RRT, for overseeing and assessing the trainee’s progress and verifying to the ABA that the requirement has been met.

To be considered for the RRT, the resident should have:

  • 1. Achieved consistently good exam results ITE and be at least in the 30 percentile range.
  • 2. Consistently superior evaluations.
  • 3. Attendance at lectures and grand rounds consistently over 75%.
  • 4. Maintain this level of academic performance over the course of the project
    • The RRT shortens the clinical component of residency by 5 months, and the Clinical Competency Committee must be confident that the clinical skills of the applicant are sufficiently strong to not be significantly diminished by the applicant’s participation in the RRT. In addition, previous research activities will be considered. The CCC may also remove a resident from the RRT if at any time concern is raised about their clinical competence after accepting or starting the research period. Priority will be given to residents who will commit to additional clinical or research fellowship training.

Research Project

  • The choice of research project is an important component of the proposal. The project should be tailored to the needs, interests and ability of the applicant, designed to enhance their intellectual growth, and be relevant for entrance into a career in academic anesthesia. The project may be laboratory research, clinical research, or a population-based study. It must be conducted at the UW or UW-affiliated hospitals, although not necessarily in the Anesthesiology Department. A didactic component of the project is not required. However, if appropriate for the applicant a didactic component will be viewed favorably. Didactic activities may include (but are not limited to) mini-courses or seminars in protocol design, clinical trials design, meta-analysis, and courses in programming, biostatistics, or research methodologies. Didactic activities should complement, rather than detract from, the research experience. 
  • For projects involving animal or human studies, appropriate IACUC or IRB is required. IACUC or IRB approval is not required to apply for the RRT, however documentation of compliance is required before starting the RRT. 


  • An involved, supportive and experienced mentor is essential for a successful RRT experience. It is expected that the mentor will be an active and accomplished investigator. Typically, a mentor will be a member of the senior faculty, one with a history of successful research and grant funding. Characteristics of a desirable mentor include a record of successful mentorship, research accomplishment, and expertise in the proposed approaches. The mentor should also be enthusiastic about the project, the applicant, and the applicant’s academic development. The mentor must make a written commitment to continuous, direct supervision of the RRT resident in developing research expertise and achieving the goals of the research proposal. The mentor statement is extremely important in evaluation of the RRT application. 
  • Concentrated time away from clinical duties is necessary for adequate research training. It is also important to maintain and consolidate the clinical skills acquired during the CA-1 and CA-2 years. The RRT resident will work approximately 20% clinically (typically ~10-12 hours/week) in a clinical capacity. This may include weekday daytime activity, call, and/or some (but not entirely) weekend duty. Clinical responsibilities will be flexible (in consultation with the mentor / resident and chief residents) to avoid the disruption of research activities. Standard evaluation of clinical skills will continue throughout this time. 
  • An important component of research training is acquiring skills and experience in the presentation of research results. After the conclusion of the research period, the resident will be required to present the project at departmental Grand Rounds (normally in Late May or June of the CA-3 year), the department’s Academic Evening (usually in May), and at a suitable external conference (WARC, ASA, IARS, etc.). It is expected that the results of the RRT research will be published in a peer-reviewed journal. 
  • Evaluation of progress in the RRT will be accomplished by written self-reporting by the resident and written reports by the mentor. 
  • An interim evaluation of progress must be submitted by the RRT resident to the Chair of Scholarship Oversight Committee after 12 weeks. This progress report should address research progress and findings to date, any unanticipated limitations, problems, or deviations from the original research plan, and plans for the remaining three months. Similarly, the mentor will also provide a mid-project report assessing the resident’s progress. 
  • A final evaluation of progress must be submitted by the RRT resident to the Chair of Scholarship Oversight Committee within one month of concluding the RRT. This will be reviewed by the Scholarship Oversight Committee. The final progress report should state the aims of the project as proposed in the original research plan, summarize the pertinent research findings and conclusions, how the RRT experience has contributed to the resident’s career development plans, and future plans. Manuscripts submitted for publication, or to be submitted for publication, may be included as part of the evaluation. Similarly, the mentor will also provide a final report assessing the resident’s progress. 
  • Residents interested in applying to the RRT should discuss their interest with Vice Chair for  Research to ensure an appropriate mentor and project. 


  • Residents interested in applying for the RRT must submit a Research Application by last Monday of March. This date cannot be delayed due to need for time to review the applications and need for approval prior to the CA-3 rotation lottery. The Research Application consists of the Research Plan, the Applicant’s CV or Biosketch, the Mentoring Plan, and the Mentor’s Biosketch. The Research Application should be submitted to the Vice Chair for Research. We strongly recommend you submit your research application 1-2 weeks prior to the due date, for feedback on how to improve your application. 
  • RRT Applications will be evaluated by appropriate members of the department. Proposals by Bonica Scholars will be reviewed by the Bonica Scholars Oversight Committee. Consistent with current standards for conflict of interest in research, any committee member will be excluded from evaluating the application of a resident for whom they serve as mentor or co-investigator. Research applications will be evaluated based on evaluation of the 1) research plan, 2) mentoring plan and 3) applicant, according to standard review criteria distributed to committee members (see attached evaluation form). The Research Plan will be evaluated according to the significance of the research problem, the approach, the likelihood of successfully achieving the research aims within the 6 month period, the potential to lead to subsequent research activity, and the contribution of the proposed research to the academic development of the resident. The Mentoring Plan will be evaluated according to the mentor’s experience, the training environment, the appropriateness of the research plan, and the potential for advancing the resident’s career. The Applicant will be evaluated according to their potential to pursue subsequent research training and become an academic anesthesiologist. In addition, priority for awarding will be given to residents who will commit to additional clinical or research fellowship training. See attached RRT evaluation form. 
  • Residents and mentors will be notified by the end of March of the CA-2 (R3) year of the decision regarding the application. In some cases, the Resident will be given tentative approval pending resubmission of the research plan to address reviewer concerns and criticisms. Residents must maintain a high level of academic performance in order to be in the RRT, even after approval of the project. 


The Research Plan should be written primarily by the applicant, with the assistance of the mentor. The Research Plan must be in 11 point font size, double spaced, with margins of at least 1 inch, limited to 10 pages (inclusive of text, tables, figures, charts, graphs, references, and appendices), and organized in the following manner:

  • Title and Abstract page (1 page limit)
    • Title of research proposal
    • Name, academic degrees, email address of applicant
    • Name, academic degrees, faculty rank, telephone number, email address of mentor and proposed research dates
  • Abstract. State the broad, long-term objectives and specific aims of the project, relationship to anesthesiology, and research design and methods. The abstract should be a succinct and accurate description of the proposed work.
  • Specific Aims. State the long-term objectives and describe concisely what the research is intended to accomplish and the hypotheses to be tested.
  • Background and Significance. Briefly sketch the background for the present proposal, critically evaluate existing knowledge, and identify gaps that this project is intended to fill.
  • Preliminary Results (optional). Use this section to provide an account of the applicant’s preliminary studies pertinent to the application and/or any other information that will help to establish the experience and competence of the investigator to pursue the proposed project.
  • Experimental Design and Methods. Describe in detail the experimental design and the procedures to be used to accomplish the specific aims of the project. Include the means by which the data will be collected, analyzed, and interpreted. Describe any new methodology and its advantage over existing methodologies. Discuss the potential difficulties and limitations of the proposed procedures and alternative approaches to achieve the aims.
  • Compliance Approvals. Is Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval needed for this project? Is Human Subjects Committee (Institutional Review Board) approval needed for this project? If either approval is needed, please indicate the approval number (if approved), the submission date (if not yet approved), or the date to be submitted (if not yet submitted). Remember that appropriate regulatory approvals MUST be obtained prior to starting the RRT. Obtaining appropriate regulatory approvals is the responsibility of the mentor.
  • References. Cite only the most important, relevant literature.
  • Personal Development (1 page limit). Indicate the benefits of the RRT to the development of the applicant as an academic anesthesiologist.

B. CV or NIH Biosketch of the Applicant

C. Mentoring Plan

  • The Mentoring Plan should be written by the Mentor. The plan should describe the role of the mentor in the proposed research, specifics regarding the educational program for the applicant and how this award and the mentor’s teaching will prepare the applicant for an academic research career. Indicate how much of the mentor’s professional time is available for research and how much is specifically available for this project. Indicate the resources available for the proposed research, including laboratory (or other pertinent) facilities and funding source(s) (NIH or other). Indicate whether appropriate regulatory approvals have been obtained, or the plan for obtaining them. Provide details of the mentor’s recent mentoring experience, including a list of recent mentees, their current positions and their research projects. The mentor must provide a statement accepting responsibility for the resident’s supervision and development. The mentor’s mentoring plan is a critically important part of the proposal.

D. NIH Biosketch of the Mentor