On February 11, the AUA submitted a letter to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in response to the RFI: Inviting Comments and Suggestions on the Surgeon-Scientist Effort Requirement on K08 Awards from the National Cancer Institute.
The AUA encouraged the NCI to lower the percent effort for K08 awards to 50 percent and provided a rationale for how the reduced effort would positively affect surgeon scientist participation.
- The AUA believes a 50 percent effort is sufficient for active surgeon-scientists to succeed in their research and career development activities under the K08,
- The AUA believes if a minimum 75 percent effort requirement remains for all surgeon-scientists, many institutions will continue to be unwilling to grant this level of protected time, thereby precluding many strong candidates from applying for the K08 and;
- While the AUA cannot speculate over other subspecialties and their efforts, we believe, in the field of urology, a 50 percent effort is sufficient.
The NCI has been working since 2014 to make K08 grants more appealing to surgeon-scientists, as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has reported a 27 percent decline in the number of surgeon-scientists pursuing research careers. K08 grants, Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Awards, require surgeon-scientists to maintain a 75 percent effort requirement devoted to research, leaving only 25 percent for active surgical/clinical duties. The AUA surveyed 200 early career and established surgeon-scientist members who overwhelmingly noted many institutions would not allow a surgeon-scientist to apply for this K08 grant, as the 75 percent effort is too high, and 25 percent effort is not sufficient time to provide safe and effective surgical and clinical care to their patients.
A grassroots advocacy alert complemented the attached letter. As of today, an additional 25 physicians sent letters to the NCI. Thank you to the AUA members who submitted letters in support of lowering the percent effort for K08 awards.