Surgeon Scientist Training Program (SSTP)

Surgeon Scientist Training Program (SSTP) in the Department of Surgery, University of Toronto is currently in its 4th decade. The purpose of the program is to provide excellent research training for surgical residents who wish to pursue a career in academic surgery. The focus is on excellent research training, not on a specific discipline or project, or on specific course work.


Candidates will be eligible if they have been accepted into the University of Toronto Postgraduate Training Program in Surgery and accepted in a THESIS-BASED graduate program. Candidates may enter the Surgeon Scientist Training Program (SSTP) during their clinical training. All supervisors for  the SSTP trainee must be faculty members of the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) of the University  of Toronto. Candidates  from the following training programs will be eligible: Cardiac Surgery, General  Surgery, Neurosurgery, Orthopaedics, Paediatric General Surgery, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Thoracic Surgery, Urology and Vascular Surgery. Selection of the research program is described below.

Procedure for Applying

Potential candidates must meet with the Vice Chair Research or Associate Vice Chair Research prior to submitting application to the Department of Surgery Research Office and selecting a research supervisor, no later than September 15.  Candidates should discuss their intentions with the Division Chair, the divisional residency Program Director and with the proposed supervisor of his/her research program. The trainee and the supervisor must submit separate application forms. Application forms are available from:

Val Cabral, Research Program Manager
Department of Surgery Research Office
Tel: (416) 813-2178
Fax: (416) 813 – 5252

The deadline for receipt of applications is October 15th. Applications should be emailed or sent to Val Cabral. The curriculum vitae of the applicant and a letter of support from the Division Chair must accompany the application. 

Program Duration

The research program must be an approved graduate program that is at least two years in length.

External Funding

Candidates MUST apply for personal salary support to at least two granting agencies, such as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Heart & Stroke Foundation, each year until successful. ALL residents entering the SSTP MUST also apply to Post-Graduate Medical Education (PGME) for the Post-Graduate Medical Awards. Applicants who do not apply each year to at least two agencies for external salary support, or who are not successful at obtaining external salary support will not be able to continue in the SSTP unless their salary support is guaranteed (in writing) by their supervisor or Division Head. External support is support from an agency that is not administered by the University of Toronto or one of its affiliated hospitals.

PLEASE NOTE: to ensure uninterrupted salary support and eliminate unexpected double salary payment – all salary support (fellowships, studentships, scholarships) submitted to external agencies MUST indicate payee institution as University of Toronto:

Office of Research Services
University of Toronto
3rd Floor, McMurrich Bldg
12 Queen’s Park Crescent West
Toronto, ON  M5S 1S8


Tuition costs are covered by the Division or supervisor of the trainee. The trainee will be reimbursed upon presentation of the original receipt of payment. Compliance with these principles is implied when the University Division Head signs the SSTP trainee ’s application for.

Selection of Research Program and Supervisors

Research programs may be pursued in the general areas of basic and clinical research, clinical epidemiology, medical education, medical bioethics, or health services research. There are several excellent graduate programs in these fields within the University and candidates are encouraged to select the best graduate training possible. Training outside the University of Toronto is not approved.

Assistance in the selection of a supervisor will be provided by the Vice Chair Research or the Associate Vice Chair Research. It is imperative that a meeting be arranged with one of these two individuals before selecting a supervisor. Such meetings should be arranged prior to September 15, the year preceding entering the Program. All supervisors for the SSTP trainee must be faculty members of the School of Graduate Studies, University of Toronto.

A candidate will select a supervisor who will provide the best research environment regardless of the surgical specialty in which he/she intends to train.

Application to School of Graduate Studies

All trainees accepted to the SSTP must apply to the School of Graduate Studies, University of Toronto, and be accepted into a program leading to a MASc, MEd, MSc or PhD degree. It is the trainee’s responsibility to submit an application for entrance into the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) – each Graduate Department adheres to its own deadlines.  Applicants are encouraged to meet with the Coordinator of Graduate Studies of the Graduate Department in which they plan to enroll (e.g. , Institute of Medical Science (IMS) at (416) 978-5012; Institute of Health Policy, Management & Evaluation (IHPME) at (416) 978-7721 or (416) 946-3486 ; Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology (LMP) at (416) 978-8782; Medical Education (ME) at (416) 340-3615 or (416) 340-3646. Enrollment as a graduate student must be completed prior to starting the SSTP.

Clinical Responsibilities

During the period of research training in the SSTP, trainees must not have regular clinical responsibilities. However, trainees are encouraged to maintain some contact with clinical activities by attendance at divisional, departmental and hospital rounds and formal teaching sessions. Trainees may also attend specialty clinics with direct relevance to their areas of research. Residents must conform to PARO guidelines in this regard. If a trainee in the SSTP is to provide clinical duties, then such arrangement should not exceed four (4) hours a week, as per the terms of the PARO – CAHO Agreement Article 1, B.

Clinical Training

Following completion of the SSTP , all trainees are expected to return to clinical training within the Postgraduate Training Program in Surgery at the University of Toronto. Where appropriate, some attempt will be made by the divisional residency Program Director and the Director of Postgraduate Education t o provide the trainee with positions conducive to continuing his/her research from “bench to bedside” or to provide clinical exposure in the area of the trainee’s research topic.

Student Committee

Each trainee will have a Student Committee to assist him/her during the time spent in the SSTP . Each Student Committee will be formed in accordance with the rules of the SGS . Normally, the supervisor serves as Chair of the Student Committee, and the Committee meets at least twice yearly. Minutes of each meeting should be forwarded to the Vice Chair Research, the Division Chair and the Graduate Student Coordinator of the relevant graduate faculty. In-training evaluation forms for CIP should be obtained from the CIP office (MSB Room 2366 – 1 King’s College Circle ; email: and returned after each committee meeting to the CIP office. These evaluations must be completed by the supervisor, viewed and signed by the student. A copy must be sent to the Director of Postgraduate Surgical Education.

Relationship of Surgeon Scientist Training Program (SSTP) to Clinician Investigator Program (CIP) of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

All individuals entering the Surgeon Scientist Training Program must submit an application for the Clinician Investigator Program (CIP) of the Royal College. Information may be obtained from the CIP office by calling (416) 978-7189 or email: (

SSTP Supervisors in the Division of Urology

  • D. Bagli, IMS
  • M. Hassouna, IMS
  • K. Jarvi, IMS
  • L. Klotz, IMS
  • G. Kulkarni, IHPME
  • R. Nam, IHPME
  • K. Pace, IHPME
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