MAST Research Initiative

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The Arthroscopy Association of North America (AANA), in conjunction with the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM), and the Society for Military Orthopaedic Surgeons (SOMOS), are seeking research proposals to support the following initiatives:

  • Biologics
  • Surgical Skills Development
  • Return to Sport or Duty
  • Patient Reported Outcomes

All applications will be reviewed, discussed, and deliberated on by representatives of the three partner organizations. The finalist will be presented to a panel of representatives convening at the MAST Summit in early November. A winner will be selected and announced after the Summit. The recipient will receive a $200,000 grant from the AANA Military Advanced Surgical Treatment Program (MAST). This research initiative is a collaborative venture of AANA, AOSSM and SOMOS.

This grant aims to support projects that contribute to advancements in the areas of biologics, surgical skill development, return to sport or duty, and patient reported outcomes.

Applications must pertain to pre-clinical or clinical research that aims to improve orthopaedic treatment, techniques, and/or populations within the initiatives outlined. Applications may focus on any population, subset, or demographic; however certain consideration may be applied to submissions with a military populace focus. Collaboration among military and civilian programs is encouraged.

The goal of the MAST Research Initiative is to award a singular research project that promotes the improvement of skills and capabilities of the orthopaedic surgery community, with an emphasis on military orthopaedic surgeons. 

Biologics: Research focused on the development of novel biologic approaches for joint preservation, tissue repair, and accelerated healing in arthroscopic procedures. Projects should aim to address critical challenges in joint preservation, tissue repair, and accelerated healing. Proposals that explore the potential of regenerative medicine, such as stem cell therapies, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), and growth factors, in enhancing patient outcomes and improving the efficacy of clinically based or arthroscopic interventions

Surgical Skill Development: Research projects that aim to design, develop, and implement high-fidelity surgical simulation tools and platforms. The proposed simulations should closely mimic real-world arthroscopic scenarios, enabling trainees to acquire and refine their surgical skills in a risk-free and controlled environment. Innovative proposals that integrate state-of-the-art technologies, such as virtual reality (VR), haptic feedback, and artificial intelligence (AI) assistance, are encouraged. The project should demonstrate the effectiveness of simulation-based training in improving surgical proficiency, reducing errors, shortening learning curves, and ultimately elevating patient safety and quality of care.

Return to Sport or Duty: We welcome proposals that explore various aspects of optimization of surgical treatment and/or related to patient recovery and rehabilitation. This may include studies investigating optimal surgical approaches, postoperative protocols, individualized rehabilitation plans, and evidence-based interventions to expedite functional recovery and prevent complications. The program seeks projects that employ digital health solutions, wearable devices, and patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) to monitor patients' progress and enhance the continuum of care. Research addressing specific sports-related challenges and tailored approaches for athletes undergoing arthroscopic procedures will also be highly valued. Ultimately, this priority aims to support projects that contribute to achieving the best possible postoperative outcomes, empowering patients to resume an active lifestyle with confidence and efficiency.

Patient Reported Outcomes (PRO): Develop strategies, clinical tools, and patient tools utilizing PROs, sports/occupation specific and clinical variables to develop a tailored/precision medicine capability that predicts effective return to sport/duty and outcomes for extremity injury. Development of evidenced-based and patient-tailored predictive modeling to determine successful return to unrestricted return to activity.
Please note that while the topics mentioned above serve as primary focal points for the grant, we remain open to innovative proposals that push the boundaries of arthroscopy, sports medicine, and orthopedics in other pertinent areas. We encourage applicants to articulate how their proposed projects align with the organization's mission and vision, fostering advancements in patient care, research, education, and innovation within the field of arthroscopic surgery. Applications that are submitted in a format other than a word file or PDF may be subject to formatting or readability issues.

August 16, 2023

Submissions Open

October 13, 2023

Submissions Close

October 14, 2023 – November 1, 2023

Submission Review 

Finalists Chosen for MAST Summit panel review

November 4, 2023

MAST Research Initiative winner selected

Mid – November, 2023

MAST Research Initiative winner notified

November 11, 2023 – December 31, 2023

Standardization and finalization of project contracts

January 1, 2024

Research Initiative Begins

1st Disbursement (50%) of funding provided

September 1, 2024

Progress Report due to AANA Research team

September 15, 2024

2nd Disbursement (25%) of funding provided

May 1, 2025

2nd Progress Report due to AANA Research team

May 15, 2025

3rd Disbursement (25%) of funding provided

December 31, 2025

Research Initiative Complete

January 31, 2026

Final Progress Report Due to AANA Research team

Any investigative team seeking to be awarded the MAST Research Initiative grant must include at least one member of AANA, AOSSM, or SOMOS in good standing. Residents and Attending Faculty within 2 years of completion of training at the time of application are eligible to serve as principal investigators. Resident submissions must have an active AANA, SOMOS, or AOSSM member on their protocol. Studies addressing common musculoskeletal joint or soft tissue traumatic injuries, combat injuries, epidemiological assessment and/or surgical interventions are ideal for this grant opportunity.

The recipient of the MAST Research Initiative agrees to acknowledge MAST funding and Arthroscopy will be given the right of first refusal for publication.

The following recognition must appear as a footnote on the first page of manuscripts or printed text:

“Supported by a grant from The Arthroscopy Association of North America (AANA), with support and endowment from the Military Advanced Surgical Training (MAST) Program.”

The same credit line must be included at any presentation at a professional or scientific meeting based on a study funded by any of the partner societies. 

For a comprehensive overview of the MAST Summit Research Initiative including a recommended research plan outline, fiscal procedures, and ethical guidelines please click here.

Any questions or requests should be directed to Nick Sautter, M.S., Research and Data Analyst with AANA:

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