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I'm currently working in a lab that is interested in applying for a grant. The PI who is backing me up is well known, but wants me to come up with my own prospective research ideas in order to apply for these grants. My mind is drawing a complete blank on what are good prospective studies to do. The area of interest is MSK/Orthopedics in Shoulders and Elbows.

I've looked on PubMed & Google typing in "prospective research" along with other keywords, but still having a difficult time coming up with an idea. I should clarify that I'm not asking the forum to do my homework for me, but rather how can I bring creative ideas to the table. Thanks everybody!

@SpartanWolverine @SurfingDoctor @MamaPhD
 

SpartanWolverine

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That sounds like a great opportunity -- just be aware that the timeline on doing such a project may be outside the scope of your time and resources as a medical student! Of course it's certainly possible if you have enough support.

My expertise is in cognitive and geriatric neurology and related neuroimaging analyses -- a bit far from the cutting edge of ortho research. One thought is to look back at previous papers published by your PI. What were future directions or limitations of past studies that were done? What from those papers sounds like an interesting type of project or methodology that you would be interested in? If your PI doesn't have too many articles of their own, I expect they have sent articles your way or recommended articles to you? Again, look at their "future directions" and/or "limitations" paragraphs to see where the gaps are. I would suggest doing something complementary and within the scope of what your PI is well-versed in so that they can provide significant support and mentoring.

I know that's probably not much help, but that's about all I've got. :)
 
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MamaPhD

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Totally agree w/ @SpartanWolverine - make sure that your ideas are well within your PI's wheelhouse. Read your PI's papers and those that s/he cited (from the past ~5 years). You don't have to break completely new ground, just have a solid idea that will add something useful to the literature.
 

SurfingDoctor

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Sorry late to the party.

I will echo that a project like that seems outside the timeframe of what medical school will allow. Is the PI strictly a PhD as opposed to a MD or MD/PhD? The former I have noticed sometimes expect medical school students to approach projects like a PhD student, but the expectations should be different.

Anyway, to piggy back on the "limitation" idea, many review articles will actually have a "future directions" sections where they discuss important unanswered questions and where the field is heading. Is there a review article relevant to subject the PI? The additional benefit of the review article is that it will summarize everything that has been done so you won't come up with an idea that has already been done.
 
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SpartanWolverine

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Sorry late to the party.

I will echo that a project like that seems outside the timeframe of what medical school will allow. Is the PI strictly a PhD as opposed to a MD or MD/PhD? The former I have noticed sometimes expect medical school students to approach projects like a PhD student, but the expectations should be different.
Absolutely true. Despite trying to voice my limitations, the first PhD professor I approached when starting medical school expected me to research, propose, approve, fund, recruit, conduct, and analyse a pharmacological RCT on my own. Just had to scratch my head how they expected me to complete that with six hours per week for a year or so. I then went to a physician researcher who had a bite-sized retrospective side project that was more manageable.

So, to the original poster: certainly make sure you have a thorough understanding of the time frame on this project and, potentially, if there's someone else -- grad student, incoming medical student, etc. -- who can complete the project if you do not have the time to finish it (so that it's not all time wasted if you don't personally get to a final product).
 
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VCorp

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That sounds like a great opportunity -- just be aware that the timeline on doing such a project may be outside the scope of your time and resources as a medical student! Of course it's certainly possible if you have enough support.

My expertise is in cognitive and geriatric neurology and related neuroimaging analyses -- a bit far from the cutting edge of ortho research. One thought is to look back at previous papers published by your PI. What were future directions or limitations of past studies that were done? What from those papers sounds like an interesting type of project or methodology that you would be interested in? If your PI doesn't have too many articles of their own, I expect they have sent articles your way or recommended articles to you? Again, look at their "future directions" and/or "limitations" paragraphs to see where the gaps are. I would suggest doing something complementary and within the scope of what your PI is well-versed in so that they can provide significant support and mentoring.

I know that's probably not much help, but that's about all I've got. :)
Totally agree w/ @SpartanWolverine - make sure that your ideas are well within your PI's wheelhouse. Read your PI's papers and those that s/he cited (from the past ~5 years). You don't have to break completely new ground, just have a solid idea that will add something useful to the literature.
Sorry late to the party.

I will echo that a project like that seems outside the timeframe of what medical school will allow. Is the PI strictly a PhD as opposed to a MD or MD/PhD? The former I have noticed sometimes expect medical school students to approach projects like a PhD student, but the expectations should be different.

Anyway, to piggy back on the "limitation" idea, many review articles will actually have a "future directions" sections where they discuss important unanswered questions and where the field is heading. Is there a review article relevant to subject the PI? The additional benefit of the review article is that it will summarize everything that has been done so you won't come up with an idea that has already been done.
Absolutely true. Despite trying to voice my limitations, the first PhD professor I approached when starting medical school expected me to research, propose, approve, fund, recruit, conduct, and analyse a pharmacological RCT on my own. Just had to scratch my head how they expected me to complete that with six hours per week for a year or so. I then went to a physician researcher who had a bite-sized retrospective side project that was more manageable.

So, to the original poster: certainly make sure you have a thorough understanding of the time frame on this project and, potentially, if there's someone else -- grad student, incoming medical student, etc. -- who can complete the project if you do not have the time to finish it (so that it's not all time wasted if you don't personally get to a final product).
Thank you fam for the amazing responses. I apologize for the super late response. I've been busy with data entry, collecting intra-operative data collection for patients, and currently writing my first paper to potentially have published. Just a bit of a background: I'm currently a research fellow in the field of Orthopedic Surgery. I'm on my 6th week in the program. I picked up the position after seeing open research fellow positions on OrthoGate and committing two years to the institution, so time will certainly not be an issue.

I do like the ideas of looking at "future directions" and looking back at the PI's projects to come up with an idea. I can certainly look at other shoulder Orthopods and see their research and come up with potential ideas for this grant submission. It's unfortunate that the educational grant only allows 1 submission/program. In addition to that, there are a plethora of other exclusion criterias before being awarded the grant money. Need to absolutely make sure that whatever idea we come up with isn't a homerun, but rather a grandslam.

I'm extremely embarrassed to write the following, but I need help on a very basic concept. I am having trouble coming up with innovative ideas to write an abstract about and submitting these abstracts to conferences. I just submitted my first abstract and that was from the assistance of a family member who is also a Physician. I know this goes back to our middle school days of making a hypothesis, m&m, results, and conclusion - but I am just stuck on coming up with innovative hypothesis to run a query on to see what results I get. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated about this.
 

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