The collaboration of clinicians with basic science researchers is crucial for addressing clinically relevant research questions. In order to initiate such mutually beneficial relationships, we propose a model where early career clinicians spend a designated time embedded in established basic science research groups, in order to pursue a postgraduate qualification. During this time, clinicians become integral members of the research team, fostering long term relationships and opening up opportunities for continuing collaboration. However, for these collaborations to be successful there are pitfalls to be avoided. Limited time and funding can lead to attempts to answer clinical challenges with highly complex research projects characterised by a large number of "clinical" factors being introduced in the hope that the research outcomes will be more clinically relevant. As a result, the complexity of such studies and variability of its outcomes may lead to difficulties in drawing scientifically justified and clinically useful conclusions. Consequently, we stress that it is the basic science researcher and the clinician's obligation to be mindful of the limitations and challenges of such multi-factorial research projects. A systematic step-by-step approach to address clinical research questions with limited, but highly targeted and well defined research projects provides the solid foundation which may lead to the development of a longer term research program for addressing more challenging clinical problems. Ultimately, we believe that it is such models, encouraging the vital collaboration between clinicians and researchers for the work on targeted, well defined research projects, which will result in answers to the important clinical challenges of today
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