The proportion of physicians undertaking doctoral studies has decreased progressively over the last years both in Sweden and internationally. To counteract this trend, it is important to investigate and improve the recruitment of medical students to research. In the fall of 2012, a questionnaire study investigating interest and involvement in research was conducted among all medical students at Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg University in Sweden. The proportion of students involved in research (16 %) was unchanged from a previous similar study in 2006, and participating in a research project was considered to contribute positively to medical studies. A large number of students (36 %) were interested in conducting research during the semesters, and the main disincentives included lack of time, lack of information, and lack of project and research group. Research stimulating projects such as the 'Amanuensis Program' had a positive impact on research interest in general. For increased and early recruitment of medical students, efforts should be made to offer improved and regular information about conducting research, to publish available research projects and research groups, and to create and expand research programs for motivated medical students. Along with improved conditions and financial resources, we propose that these measures would help to accommodate the growing need for recruitment of medical students and physicians to research.
The proportion of physicians undertaking doctoral studies is decreasing. Early recruitment of medical students could counteract this trend. This follow-up survey investigated research interest and activity among medical students at the Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg, Sweden.
A questionnaire was administered to all medical students at the Sahlgrenska Academy, as a follow-up to a 2006 survey. The Mann-Whitney U test was used for ordinal variables and the Fisher exact test for categorical variables. Data from Statistics Sweden was used to analyse the number of PhDs awarded to individuals who earned a medical degree in 2000-2012.
Of the students, 16 % were already conducting and another 36 % wanted to conduct research during their studies. The interest was at the same level compared to 2006. The main reasons for conducting research consisted of an interest in scientific problems or the research topic, a wish for personal development or intellectual stimulation. Students engaged in research reported lack of time, increased workload and less time to study as hindering factors.
Recruitment could be improved by offering improved and regular information, clarifying career paths, broadly announcing available projects, and creating new and expanding existing research programmes. The potential for recruitment of Gothenburg medical students to research is substantial, but students are hampered by lack of time, lack of supervisors and lack of information.