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David J. Sugarbaker Surgical Resident Investigator Award

An Honoring Our Mentors Program

Applicant Requirements: Deadline ends at 11:59pm Eastern on 12/1/2024

Career Stage: Residents

Program Type: Research Grant

Specialty: Thoracic

Status: Upcoming

Opens: September 1, 2024

Deadline: December 2, 2024

Program Overview

The AATS Foundation’s Surgical Investigator program focuses on clinical and translational research initiatives including, but not limited to, topics related to quality and outcomes research, studies of new and innovative therapies, procedures, and technologies in cardiothoracic surgery.

The AATS Foundation David J. Sugarbaker Surgical Resident Investigator Award with a focus on thoracic surgical oncology and particular interest in mesothelioma and lung cancer, is intended to support surgical residents engaged in cancer research in the lab of an established thoracic surgical investigator. This mentored award affords the opportunity for the research activities of residents working directly with a senior thoracic surgeon to be funded. The established thoracic surgical investigators would direct the research projects and serve as research mentors.

View David J. Sugarbaker Surgical Resident Investigator Awardees

Eligibility Requirements

  • Resident who is currently enrolled in an accredited training program in the United States or Canada and has completed at least two years of postgraduate training in a surgical discipline.
  • Must be engaged in Thoracic Surgical Oncology research in the lab of an established thoracic surgical investigator who is an active AATS member in good-standing and will serve as their mentor for the duration of the project.
  • Must submit a complete education plan on the proposed research. Applications will only be considered meritorious if the selected mentor has provided adequate documentation highlighting their involvement and backing of the project.

Application Process

  • Applicants should provide a curriculum vitae with a full description of their surgical experience.
  • Mentor’s NIH Biosketch.
  • Training Plan and Environment; outlining the proposed training goals, core laboratory experience and didactic curriculum and mentoring/career counseling plans.
  • Description of the proposed research, including background, specific aims, significance, and research plan (5 page limit).
  • Description of research facilities.
  • Detailed budget (up to 10% of the total funding can be used for indirect costs and/or overhead assessments).
  • Disclosure of other currently funded research projects and pending applications for support.
  • Letter of support from the sponsoring research mentor addressing his/her endorsement of proposal and feasibility of the research proposal being carried out. The mentor letter should also include history of mentorship of previous research residents and outcomes of previous trainees. It should provide the mentorship/supervision plan, including information on research environment, salary, available laboratory space, and other educational activities during the award cycle.*
  • Letter of support from the Surgical Chief or Director of Laboratory where research will be conducted guaranteeing protected time and that the applicant will spend the entire funding period focused on described research and that the department is committed to providing additional support, if needed, to ensure completion of the research.*
  • One-page statement describing the relationship of the proposed research to the applicant’s career goals.

*For those looking to send letters of support for the candidate directly to the AATS Foundation, please email


Each award would be for up to a 2-year duration for a total investment of $40,000 in support annually. The funding would be for support of salary, research supplies, travel, and other academic expenses related directly to the research.

The 2nd year of funding will be provided based on evidence of progress and accomplishments as documented in a progress report submitted by awardee to the AATS Foundation after the initial 8 months of funding.

All applicants will be notified with an official letter from the AATS Foundation within 2-3 months of the program deadline. Should you have any questions regarding your status prior to receiving this notification, please contact

Program currently closed:

Program will open September 1, 2024.