Newswise — January 13, 2023 (Rolling Meadows, Ill.) – In-training and early career neurosurgeons who were awarded Neurosurgery Research & Education Foundation (NREF) funding have significant success in acquiring subsequent grant support, research productivity and achievements of academic rank, according to a study done by the NREF, which examined the impact of NREF grants from 2000-2015.

The NREF database was queried to identify NREF winners between 2000-2015 and award recipients were surveyed to obtain information about their demographics, academic career and research funding. Only subsequent research support with an annual funding amount of $50,000 or greater was included.

It was found that 158 neurosurgeons received 164 NREF awards totaling $8.3 million, with $1.7 million awarded to 46 Young Clinician Investigators (YCI), $1.5 million to 18 Van Wagenen Fellows (VWF) and $5.1 million to 100 resident Research Fellowship Grants (RFG). Of all awardees, 73% have current academic appointments. In total, respondents cumulatively obtained $776 million in post-NREF award grant funding, with the most common sources of funding including the National Institutes of Health ($327 million) and foundational awards ($306 million).

The NREF impact ratio for awardees was $1:$381 for YCI, $1:$113 for VWF and $1:$41 for resident RFG. Awardees with NREF projects in Functional neurosurgery, Pediatric neurosurgery and Neuro-oncology had the highest NREF impact ratios of $1:$194, $1:$185 and $1:$162, respectively. 

The impact spread was found to be much wider than additional funding – it was discovered that awardees were often very successful later on in their careers. Of respondents, 9% became department chairs, 26% became full professors, 82% received at least one subsequent research grant and 66% served as PI on a subsequent research grant following their NREF awards.

For more detailed information on the study, please visit the Journal of Neurosurgery.




About the NREF The Neurosurgery Research & Education Foundation (NREF) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization created in 1980 by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) to support research and education efforts that enhance and confirm the critical role neurosurgeons play in improving lives.

The NREF is dedicated to providing education to neurosurgeons at all stages of their careers, as well as funding research into new and existing neurosurgical treatments, in order to identify links between best practices and improved outcomes in patient care. Through voluntary public donations, corporate support, and donations from allied groups, the NREF supports endeavors that impact the lives of those suffering from epilepsy, stroke, brain tumors, spinal disorders, sports-related head injuries, lower back pain and Parkinson’s disease.

For more information about NREF, please visit

Journal Link: Journal of Neurosurgery

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Journal of Neurosurgery