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The CREATE Medical Physics Research Training Network: Training of New Generation Innovators

J Seuntjens

J Seuntjens1*, L Beaulieu2 , L Collins1 , P Despres2 , S Devic1 , I El Naqa1 , J Nadeau1 , B Pike3 , A Reader1 , (1) McGill University, Montreal, QC, (2) Centre Hospitalier Univ de Quebec, Quebec, QC, (3) University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta


MO-DE-BRA-4 (Monday, July 13, 2015) 1:45 PM - 3:45 PM Room: Ballroom A

Over the past century, physicists have played a major role in transforming scientific discovery into everyday clinical applications. However, with the increasingly stringent requirements to regulate medical physics as a health profession, the role of physicists as scientists and innovators has become at serious risk of erosion. These challenges trigger the need for a new, revolutionized training program at the graduate level that respects scientific rigor, attention for medical physics-relevant developments in basic sciences, innovation and entrepreneurship.

A grant proposal was funded by the Collaborative REsearch and Training Experience program (CREATE) of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada. This enabled the creation of the Medical Physics Research Training Network (MPRTN) around two CAMPEP-accredited medical physics programs. Members of the network consist of medical device companies, government (research and regulatory) and academia. The MPRTN/CREATE program proposes a curriculum with three main themes: (1) radiation physics, (2) imaging & image processing and (3) radiation response, outcomes and modeling.

The MPRTN was created mid 2013 (mprtn.com) and features (1) four new basic Ph.D. courses; (2) industry participation in research projects; (3) formal job-readiness training with involvement of guest faculty from academia, government and industry. MPRTN activities since 2013 include 22 conferences; 7 workshops and 4 exchange travels. Three patents were filed or issued, nine awards/best papers were won. Fifteen journal publications were accepted/published, 102 conference abstracts. There are now 13 industry partners.

A medical physics research training network has been set up with the goal to harness graduate student's job-readiness for industry, government and academia in addition to the conventional clinical role. Two years after inception, significant successes have been booked, but the true challenge will be to demonstrate that with this training philosophy CREATE scholars gain access to a much broader job market.

Funding Support, Disclosures, and Conflict of Interest: Supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Canada

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