AATS Foundation/WTS Mid-Career Investigator Award

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The AATS Foundation/WTS Mid-Career Investigator Award is a collaboration between the AATS Foundation and the Women in Thoracic Surgery (WTS) that aligns with their mutual cardiothoracic surgery-based missions to support education and research. It is intended for mid-career female cardiothoracic surgeon scientists who have faced external constraints to professional growth. Potential candidates are expected to also demonstrate previous research experience and a need for funding to advance their careers further.

Mid-Career Research Support

Faculty development at the early career stage is essential for professional academic progression. There exist known barriers to career advancement for women in cardiothoracic surgery, such as their caregiver roles, heavier load of non-promotable service, as well as inherent biases or lack of institutional infrastructure support. Studies focused on female cardiothoracic surgeons have revealed that 60% of academic appointments were at the instructor or assistant professor level; only 18% were full professors. There are also more available opportunities for surgeon scientists at the onset of their careers, but fewer grants available in this mid-career space. To address these obstacles, the WTS has partnered with the AATS Foundation to support mid-career women cardiothoracic surgeons.

The focus of proposed research can be clinical, translational or basic science. Funding is intended to lead to future applications for larger independent grants by providing preliminary data or foundational work for extramural funding. Therefore, all candidates must articulate their plan for ensuring continued funding for the research career beyond this award.


To be eligible for an award, applicants must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Completed her formal training in cardiothoracic surgery and be certified by the appropriate Thoracic Surgery Board in the United States, Canada, or international equivalent.
  • Must have a current academic or hospital appointment at a US or Canadian institution.
  • Must have completed their cardiothoracic residency no less than 5 years and no longer than 15 years from the application.
  • Must articulate their overall career development plan, describe current barriers to this plan and how this award would help address these barriers towards successful promotion and career advancement.
Application Overview

Applications requesting up to $50,000 per year for up to two years are welcomed, in addition to smaller short-term requests. For requests of more than one year, a progress report and request for additional funding are required prior to the end of the originally funded year. Decisions for the second year of funding will be made after review of the progress report.

All applications will be subject to a rigorous peer-review process which will be established and overseen by the program’s AATS Foundation/WTS Mid-Career Investigator Award Committee and the AATS Foundation Advisory Council.

If selected, the award will be paid to the successful applicant’s institution for covering expenses for support of salary, research supplies, travel, other legitimate academic expenses of the scholar and to address external constraints. It cannot be used to support indirect institutional costs.

The scholarship funding period will begin July 1st of the funded year and conclude on June 30th of the following year with the option to extend to a second year contingent upon the year one progress report.

All publications emanating from the research must include acknowledgement of the award.

Application Process

The application process for the AATS Foundation/WTS Mid-Career Investigator Award Opened April 1, 2023.

Candidates will be required to submit the following materials within their online application:

  1. Biosketch;
  2. Letter of support from the department chair or division chief;
  3. Description of the proposed research for planned award (5-page limit, can include background, specific aims, significance, and research plan);
  4. Description of research facilities;
  5. Detailed budget with justification of funds;
  6. One page narrative describing the relationship of the proposed research to the applicant’s career goals;
  7. Disclosure of other currently funded research projects and pending applications for support;
  8. Describe next step plans after the successful completion of research proposed;
  9. First and second most significant publications;
Review Process

The AATS Foundation/WTS Mid-Career Investigator Award Committee and the AATS Foundation Advisory Council will review all applications and select one awardee to be presented to AATS Board of Directors for final approval. Applications will be graded on all aspects of the award criteria.

Completion of Program

At the conclusion of the experience, a final report must be submitted, highlighting all activities and the advances achieved. The recipient will also work closely with AATS Foundation staff to determine ways to share details with a larger audience.

The submission deadline for applications is Midnight, EST, July 1, 2023.

Details can also be found on the AATS Foundation website.