Program Overview

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the Burroughs Welcome Fund and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have partnered to form a new Physician Scientist Incubator to enrich the pool of MD-only (rather than MD-PhD) physicians who lead basic research laboratories. Residents and Fellows seeking careers built on preclinical research can apply for competitive Burroughs Wellcome Scholar spots supported by the Incubator. The Burroughs Wellcome Scholars will be eligible to receive:

  • Laboratory biostatistics training
  • Technical expertise consulting as needed (for techniques new to the mentor’s laboratory)
  • Executive coaching (workshops and nine individual sessions, career and resiliency coaching)
  • Transactional and leadership skill training

Program Timeline 

Residents and Fellows appointed as BWF Scholars can be in any academic department.  The above figure shows the program timeline. 

  • Trainees can apply to the BWF Scholar program during residency or fellowship (or post-match for local students in the medical school research track).   Mentoring and the initiation of individualized career and research development plans begins upon appointment to the program.   At the start of supported research, Scholars complete the laboratory biostatistics class, responsible conduct of research (RCR) training and begin participation in professional development and writing workshops.
  • During the supported research period,  Scholars benefit from Career Coaching workshops followed by individualized Executive Coaching from professional career/ resiliency coaches.   As needed, a team of technique consultants provide guidance, training or referral for technical laboratory training beyond that in the mentor’s laboratory. Trainees also receive extra financial support for travel to meetings, tuition and specific extra-academic time management needs.
  • Prior to returning to clinically-intensive training, Scholars receive further scientific and grant writing training, laboratory and staff management training.  Those returning to PGY clinical years can competitively apply for technician support to sustain their research momentum past the clinical transition.


  • BWF Scholars will benefit from a core and customized curriculum of new courses and optimal resources drawn from existing training programs.  
  • A new online biostatistics course encompassing laboratory and clinical-based problem sets will enrich experimental design and analysis skills.   
  • Regular Physician Scientist Incubator workshops will cover core research topics as well as professional development, resiliency, productivity, and leadership strategies and exercises. 
  • BWF Scholars will participate in a yearly scientific retreat featuring expert speakers, workshops and trainee presentations.  

Financial Support

  • PGY-equivalent stipend during research years (for those not receiving support from F- or T-32 grants)
  • Eligibility for technician support on return to clinical training post research (additional application required)
  • Tuition and travel support
  • Time management bonus aimed at personal time-saving services, with concierge support

Mentoring and Career Advising

Depending on the needs and interests of the trainee, additional didactic training will be available.