AO Spine Invites Young Researchers to Get Involved

A call for applications for the AO Spine 2019 Discovery and Innovation Award inspired young researchers around the world to submit research proposals. In total, 83 applications were received.

28 February 2019

AOSpine Research Funding

The purpose of this initiative is to support young AO Spine members to perform high-quality, clinically-relevant spine research and to get involved. Winners will be invited to participate in the AO Spine Knowledge Forums.

A maximum of ten grants will be awarded in the AO Spine Knowledge Forum (KF) pathology areas of deformity, degenerative, spinal cord injury, trauma, and tumor. "We want to engage and integrate young scientist from different regions into the KFs. This is one way to provide our talented members opportunities to work with key opinion leaders and experienced researchers," AO Spine Research Commission Chairperson Dino Samartzis explains. "The applicants must have a desire to perform high-quality, clinically-relevant research that will ultimately have an impact on the global stage."

Innovative novel ideas will be prioritized, but the proposed projects must also be feasible and have an impact on spine care.

Most proposals were focused on degenerative (42%), followed by both tumor (17%) and spinal cord injury (17%), deformity (15%), and trauma (9%). 48% of the proposals were pre-clinical and 52% were clinical. The map shows the global distribution of the proposals, where most applications were received from the region 'Europe and Southern Africa' (34%). The applicants ranged from 29-40 years and all have an appointment at a university or a hospital-based institute.
According to AO Spine Global Research Manager Niccole Germscheid, successful applicants can become associate members of the KF which best relates to their research proposal. "Their associate membership is initially for one year—the term of their research project—but it can be extended if they can deliver on their research proposal and become involved in other Knowledge Forum activities."

The awardees must provide a study progress report at six months and a final report one year of receiving the award. Awardees are also expected to submit and present their work as abstracts at the Global Spine Congress 2020 in Rio de Janeiro.

AO Spine 2019 Discovery and Innovation Awards are granted up to 45'000 Swiss Francs. Winners will be announced in April 2019 and invited to participate in their first KF meeting at the Global Spine Congress in Toronto in May 2019.

"This is a way to provide our talented members opportunities to work with key opinion leaders and experienced researchers."

Dino Samartzis, Chairperson AO Spine Research Commission

AO Spine 2019 Discovery and Innovation Award proposals:

More information

For more information on the AO Spine Knowledge Forums and the ongoing studies visit

For open calls and funding opportunities visit our website or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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