The Clinician Scientist in the Field of Translational Research: A Future Profession in Medicine?

Thursday, 19 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Barbara HENDRIKS, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany
Clinician scientists are nowadays discussed as the key medical profession in the field of translational research in biomedicine as they were understood as the future role able to closing the widening gap between biomedical research and medical practice. Thus, clinician scientist training and funding programs can nowadays be found in numerous universities and university hospitals around the world – such as Harvard Medical School, the University of Toronto, or the university hospital Charité Berlin—to name a few. The idea behind these programs is to promote a hybrid profession that translates research findings into clinical practice, and the other way round, qua persona. However, we can find empirically that clinician scientists do somehow fail on this request as the clinician scientist is lacking a form of institutionalization.

In this context, we find that previous studies addresses hurdles and barriers according to training and education of clinician scientists, but until now it is unclear what meaning translational research plays in this context? Translational research is mainly perceived as a driver for the clinician scientist position, but it seems rather unquestioned what kind of negative side effects translational research triggers towards the development of clinician scientists as a future medical profession. This paper addresses this shortcoming via a dualistic perspective by asking two questions simultaneously: How is translational research criticized by various stakeholders in the field of biomedicine, and what role does the clinician scientist play in this context? And b) how do clinician scientists criticize translational research and what role does this critique play for the perception of translational research? In order two answer these two questions the article is based on three sources of empirical data: (1) interviews with clinician scientists, (2) a discourse analysis of research articles and (3) a blog analysis from clinician scientists.