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General Medicine
Challenges facing early-career and mid-career researchers: potential solutions to safeguard the future of evidence-based medicine
  1. Georgia C Richards1,
  2. Stephen H Bradley2,3,
  3. Andrew B Dagens4,
  4. Christoffer B Haase5,
  5. Brennan C Kahan6,
  6. Tanja Rombey7,
  7. Cole Wayant8,
  8. Logan Z J Williams9,
  9. Peter J Gill10,11
  1. 1 Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  2. 2 University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  3. 3 York Street Practice, Leeds, UK
  4. 4 Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, UK
  5. 5 Section of General Practice, University of Copenhagen, Kobenhavns, Denmark
  6. 6 Pragmatic Clinical Trials Unit, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK
  7. 7 Institute for Research in Operative Medicine, Universität Witten/Herdecke, Witten, Germany
  8. 8 Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
  9. 9 Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  10. 10 Division of Paediatric Medicine, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  11. 11 Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Georgia C Richards, Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 2JD, UK; georgia.richards{at}

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The challenges facing the evidence-based medicine (EBM) movement are well documented.1 2 Yet, the problems facing early-career and mid-career researchers (EMCRs) working in the ecosystem of EBM have not been articulated. The coming together of a cohort of EMCRs from across the globe enabled this articulation.3 The 2019 EBMLive conference (see box 1) provided a space for EMCRs to discuss problems, exchange ideas and create a list of potential solutions. This article outlines four key problems faced by EMCRs and their potential solutions (see box 2).

Box 1

The EBMLive Conference

The EBMLive Conference ( is a joint partnership between the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine and the BMJ, designed to develop, disseminate, and implement better evidence for better healthcare. Since inception, EBMLive has worked tirelessly to include the voice of students and early-career researchers. Building on previous work, the inaugural Doug Altman Scholarship3 and Building Capacity Bursaries were launched in 2019 to fund the travel and attendance of early-career researchers from across the globe to attend the conference.

Box 2

Problems facing EMCR and their potential solutions

In the lead up to the EBMLive conference, Doug Altman Scholars submitted personal and general problems they have faced as early-career researchers. The responses were synthesised and shared with the Scholars to generate further discussion. During EBMLive, the problems and ideas for potential solutions were discussed and presented during dedicated sessions for early- and mid-career researchers. The key list of problems facing early-career and mid-career researchers and their potential solutions are as follows:

  1. Tokenistic training of evidence-based medicine

    • Develop a standardised, evidence-based curricula for teaching evidence-based medicine

    • Incorporate the teaching of research biases, conflicts of interests and medical reversal into curricular

  2. Emphasis of quantity over quality

    • Restructure research metrics to focus on research quality and impact

    • Institutions, employers and funding bodies must change the culture and current expectations of publication

  3. Lack …

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