The Swiss Academy for Medical Sciences and the Swiss National Science Foundation started this program in order to encourage physicians to do science. There is a lack of physicians with a sound scientific education. The two organisations would like to see more physician-scientists and to train more physicians for high quality clinical research. Therefore young medical students are supported to acquire the necessary skills to conduct independent, internationally competitive basic or clinical research. The goal is to strengthen Swiss research.
At the beginning of the MD PhD program you need to have completed your medical, dentistry or veterinary studies. At some universities you can enter the program before finishing your medical studies. The Swiss MD PhD program is currently being reorganized. Relevant changes will be published here ASAP.
You have to find a mentor who supports your application and agrees to accept you in her/his research group. You have to design the project in close collaboration with your mentor. Please make sure you include all documents required for the application (see Application Checklist).
A complete application consists of the following documents:
* Scientific project
* Statement of your mentor that she/he is offering you a job in the lab
* Brief description about your motivation to enter the MD PhD program and your future plans (career plan)
* Letter from a clinician who will offer you training after the MD PhD program
There are no direct costs. Your salary will even be higher than a PhD student’s. However, a full cost calculation reveals that you have to be ready for a substantial investment of roughly CHF 70’000 - 100’000 compared to a direct clinical career since you earn less than you would as a clinician.
There is a two step procedure. The first step is to pass the local commitee (Basel, Bern, Geneva, Lausanne or Zurich). The local commitees then send the successful candidates to Bern to the national MD PhD commitee.
The local MD PhD commitees are composed of MDs, PhDs and some MD PhDs. The composition of the local commitees varies substantially among the 5 universities. The number of commitee members varies between 5 (Basel) and more than 10 (Bern). The national commitee is composed of 9 members. (SNF, SAMW, representatives of the private foundations. Head: Prof. Dr. Meier-Abt, University of Basel).
Application deadline is usually December 15th (please check, see above). Thereafter, interviews with the local commitee will take place. Successful candidates will be invited for interviews in Bern which will be in May. You will get the final decision in June at the latest.
For the MD PhD program, usual selection criteria such as (a) CV of the candidate (early interest in research and scientific experience, results of exams of medical school, personal flexibility) (b) the personal impression of the candidate at the interviews (talent to present scientific projects and ideas, personal motivation), (c) the quality of the proposed project (originality, feasability) and (d) the quality of the host laboratory (previous publications in the field) are valuable. Furthermore, a clear career plan should be presented. Place and time for the residency should be outlined already (see application documents).
If you plan to change the lab, you should inform the local MD PhD program coordinator as well as the SNF and discuss the issue. Most often, candidates that have to continue their work in a different lab still may keep the money. Thus the granted salary is personal.
You can always contact the local MD PhD commission or the SAMW. You may also contact the SMPA, if you hesitate to directly contact the other institutions. We will then try to find an independent mediator.
Although teaching experience might broaden your personal experience, you are not obliged to take part in teaching activities during your MD-PhD studies. Time for teaching should be kept at a reasonable level so as not to interfere with your studies.
The program has to be completed at a Swiss university. An exception can be made, if the national committee can be convinced, that a stay in another lab abroad is a profit. The maximal stay, however is limited to six months.
Die SMPA hatte im Jahre 2004 eine Umfrage bei den Fachgesellschaften initiert, mit dem Ziel das MD-PhD Programm bei den einzelnen FGs bekannter zu machen und die zeitliche Anerkennung der MD-PhD Studien zu verbessern. Dr. Max Giger, Präsident der Kommission für Weiter- und Fortbildung (KWFB) der FMH, hat sich mit grossem Einsatz unserem Anliegen angenommen und die Umfrage bei allen FGs durchgeführt.
Die Resultate sind seit Ende 2006 auf der FMH Homepage publiziert:
Während einige FG eine konservative Haltung bzgl. Anerkennung von Forschungszeit für die Facharztausbildung zeigten, erwiesen sich andere, wie z.B. insbesondere die FG für Chirurgie, offen und fortschrittlich.
Grundsätzlich muss festgehalten werden, dass eine einheitliche Regelung bzgl. Anerkennung der MD-PhD Studien aufgrund der Souveränität der 43 FGs in Weiterbildungsfragen aktuell praktisch nicht möglich ist.
Wir empfehlen, basierend auf den nun publizierten Stellungnahmen der FGs vor Antritt / während der MD-PhD Studien bei der FMH ein Gesuch um entsprechende Anerkennung der WB-Zeit zu stellen.
* Presidents of the local MD PhD commitees Basel, Bern, Geneva, Lausanne, Zurich
* Swiss Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences SAMS (Dr. Katrin Kuehnle, Scientific Collaborator and Dr. Hermann Amstad, Secretary General)
* The local SMPA representatives Basel, Bern, Geneva, Lausanne, Zurich
* Currently enrolled MD PhD students and MD PhD graduates