Surgical Science and Practice

Given RCSI’s history in surgery – which dates back to our foundation in 1784 – we naturally have a strong research focus on improving surgery practice and training.

Patient-focussed research is at the heart of RCSI’s activities and we have a broad range of research topics in surgical science such as:

  • Developing new techniques that use fluorescent probes to guide surgical procedures. This is applicable to a number of different procedures such as tumour excision and gastrointestinal surgeries.
  • Creating biobanks of patient tissue from surgery (mainly cancer) that are used to monitor outcomes and to help develop new diagnostics and treatments for disease.
  • Developing novel biomaterials that can be used in grafts to aid the repair of broken bone and cartilage.

In terms of surgical practice, our Department of Surgical Affairs and the National Surgical Training Centre (NSTC) have an active research and development programme. The current research programme is focussed on the following themes:

  1. Surgical training research, with an emphasis on technical and non-technical skills development
  2. Surgical and emergency medicine training programmes
  3. Post-surgery outcome through a collaboration with Health Outcomes Research Centre (HORC) 
  4. Quality improvement process measures

Our goal is to develop a competence-based curriculum, novel assessment tools and continue to refine trainee selection and assessment processes. These will complement the development and implementation of a technical and non-technical skills based programme to bridge the gap created by a shortened training programme and reduction of training hours on the hospital site.

In the area of technology enhanced learning, the NSTC at RCSI has developed a Moodle platform that facilitates interactive mandatory case-based discussions. This platform has been incorporated into RCSI's first global surgical training website which covers all aspects of surgical training. Similarly, a comprehensive anatomy-based app has been developed and optimised for use on a phone. We have also used VR and 360˚ camera technology to enhance our trainees learning experience.

Our Principal Investigators