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Research Requirements  


 The SET Program training requirements are as follows: 

  • Research Project Requirement: Satisfactorily complete an approved supervised research project (Intermediate Neurosurgical Training)
  • Research Presentation Requirement: Satisfactorily complete an approved research presentation (Intermediate Neurosurgical Training) 
  • Research Publication Requirement: Have a publication from the supervised research project in an approved journal (Advanced Neurosurgical Training) 

Trainees who have satisfactorily completed a research project relevant to neurosurgery resulting in a presentation and publication which satisfies the research requirements as determined by the NSA Research Committee in their discretion may be eligible for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for the three requirements combined. 

Applications for recognition of prior learning can only be made after the trainee has been selected for commencement on the SET Program. Guidelines are provided below to inform trainees of the standard applied to the assessment of recognition of prior learning (RPL) for their SET research requirements, along with the application form. 


Guidelines for RPL for Research Requirements 

Supervised Research Project

The Research Project Requirement must be completed during Basic and/or Intermediate Neurosurgical Training. It is the responsibility of the trainee to make all applicable arrangements for their supervised research project and to obtain the prior approval of the Research Committee who have the delegated authority of the Training Board to assess this training requirement applying their discretion in accordance with the Regulations.  

The research project must:

  • be achievable during Intermediate Neurosurgical Training; 
  • be supervised by an appropriately qualified consultant or researcher; 
  • be a substantive project relevant to neurosurgery with the potential for a meaningful outcome; 
  • be likely to result in a publication which satisfies the requirements in clause 5.4; and  
  • the role of the trainee in the project must be significant.

For approval of the research project trainees will be required to submit a written research proposal, on the prescribed form, during Basic Neurosurgical Training or their first year of Intermediate Neurosurgical Training.  Trainees will be required to present the proposal orally to theResearch Committee if requested. Due dates for proposals will be as advised by the Training Board. 

Trainees will be required to provide oral progress reports to the Research Committee, if requested, at any time during the research project.   

For approval of successful completion of the research project trainees will be required to submit a written research completion report, on the prescribed form, together with a copy of the manuscript which must have been submitted for publication (it is not a requirement that it be accepted at that time). Trainees will be required to present the completion report orally to the Research Committee if requested. Due dates for completion reports will be as advised by the Training Board. Trainees must obtain approval of the research proposal and research completion report from their research supervisor, prior to submission to the Research Committee. Research supervisors may be contacted to verify their prior approval and to provide additional information at the discretion of the Research Committee.

During oral presentations, the Research Committee will ask questions to assist them in determining the approval or rejection of the research proposal or research completion report and to assist trainees in their progression with their research project. Trainees must undertake the research project approved by the Research Committee. Any modifications, including changes in supervisors, institutions, or the research project must be approved by the Research Committee by way of a revised research proposal using the prescribed form. 

Full details can be found in the Regulations. The proposal form and the completion report are also available below. 

 Cut Off Date   Presentation Date   Submissions Permitted 
 Monday, 11 March 2024    Monday, 25 March 2024  All 
 Monday, 3 June 2024   Monday, 17 June 2024  All 
 Monday, 2 September 2024   Monday, 16 September 2024   All
 Monday, 18 November 2024   Monday, 2 December 2024    Completion Reports Only  





Download Training Program Regulations here (commencing 5/2/2024) 

Download the Research Project Proposal Form here

Download the Research Project Completion Report here 

Research Presentation

The Research Presentation Requirement must be completed during Intermediate Neurosurgical Training. Trainees must present an oral presentation (excluding poster side presentations) of the research findings from the supervised research project approved in accordance with clause 5.2 at the NSA Annual Scientific Meeting or at an alternative national or international meeting, approved by the Research Committee, which is subject to competitive abstract selection.

For the approval of the completion of the Research Presentation Requirement, a letter or certificate from the meeting organisers at which the presentation was given must be submitted.  The letter or certificate must confirm the trainee personally presented the paper and the title and details of the same. This can be submitted at any time during Intermediate Training to [email protected].  

Download Training Program Regulations here (commencing 5/2/2024) 

Research Publication

The Research Publication Requirement must be completed prior to or during Advanced Neurosurgical Training.  It is a condition to apply for and present for the Fellowship Examination that the Research Publication Requirement be approved as completed. Trainees must have one neurosurgical publication (not a case report or abstract) based on the research findings from the supervised research project . The publication must be as primary author. 

The publication must be in a journal with a SCImago Journal Rank in quartiles 1 to 3 in the subject area of Medicine or Neuroscience ( The quartile ranking is at the time of acceptance for publication. 

For the approval of the completion of the Research Publication Requirement, the trainee must provide a pdf copy of the published article, showing full bibliographic details. For manuscripts which are accepted for publication, but not yet published, the trainee must provide the publisher’s proof of acceptance and the publisher’s pdf proof of the article.  

Download Training Program Regulations here (commencing 5/2/2024) 

Surgeon Scientist Pathway 

The Surgeon-Scientist Pathway (Pathway) for RPL is open to trainees who have a genuine desire to undertake a neurosurgical research-focused Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) while on a period of interruption from the SET Program. The Pathway is available for up to three years (full time equivalent) while on Training Board approved interruption, undertaking a PhD.  

Trainees approved for the Pathway may receive RPL for two full time equivalent Clinical Terms as part of the SET Program and RPL for operative cases completed during the Pathway on successful completion of the Pathway. Once interruption of training has been granted by the Training Board trainees must apply for the Pathway using the prescribed form prior to the commencement of their interruption and PhD. 

To be approved for the Pathway, trainees must satisfy the conditions outlined in these Regulations.  Approval is at the discretion of the Training Board Chair. 

The trainee must secure employment at a hospital with an accredited training post for the SET Program. This will not be employment in a SET accredited post and as such the Training Board is unable to assist with this employment process. The SET Program supervisor at the hospital must agree to provide supervision of the clinical and educational activities required while on the Pathway, and completion of the required assessments. 

The employment secured by the trainee must cover the full period of interruption and PhD and include participation at the hospital in the following as a minimum:

  • One neurosurgical clinic per fortnight 
  • One half day operating list per week (not private assisting) 
  • One ward round per week with a consultant neurosurgeon 
  • One postoperative ward round per week 
  • A minimum of 1:5 after hours on-call 
  • One weekly consultant led tutorial
  • One monthly neuropathology session 
  • One weekly neuro-radiology session 
  • One monthly Journal Club meeting 

For all Clinical Terms while on the Pathway the trainee must satisfy the: 

  • Clinical Term Requirement; and 
  • Training Seminar Requirement. 

The trainee must submit the Logbook Report as required six monthly while on the Pathway. The case load requirements will not be applicable. Any operative cases completed while on the Pathway may be accredited as part of the SET Program on completion of the Pathway. 

To be eligible for RPL, the trainee must have successfully completed the Pathway, which requires the trainee to: 

  • Complete the PhD which means the university must confirm all academic requirements for the award have been completed; and 
  • Have satisfied all the clinical and educational requirements as outlined in these Regulations while undertaking the approved Pathway.  

There is no RPL available if a trainee does not complete the Pathway in full.

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