Disease-Oriented Clinical Scholars (DOCS)

The goal of the Disease-Oriented Clinical Scholars (DOCS) Program is to facilitate the growth of state-of-the-art research in clinical departments at UT Southwestern Medical Center.


A clinical Department Chair at UT Southwestern will nominate candidates for DOCS support. The candidate must have completed research training, demonstrated commitment to a career in research, and have great promise as a future leader in the field. Candidates may be internal candidates or outside recruits.

Candidates must have held the rank of Assistant Professor for less than three years. At the time of nomination, candidates may still be in postdoctoral or fellowship training, but they will be expected to be appointed as an Assistant Professor by the time the DOCS support takes effect.

Candidates must have at least 75 percent protected time for laboratory-based or clinical research. They may have a Ph.D. and/or M.D. degree. It is expected that some Scholars will be clinically trained; others will be laboratory scientists pursuing research that is directly related to the pathophysiology or treatment of human disease.


The distinguishing feature of the DOCS Program is flexibility. There is no predetermined amount or form of support. The Department Chair will be expected to request the support package best suited to a particular candidate and commensurate with the candidate's dedication to research activities.

Salary support requested for the candidate must be commensurate with their protected time for research, but may not exceed $85,000 (plus additional for fringe benefits) annually. Total packages may not exceed $1,000,000 (over a four-year period), and it is expected that significantly smaller packages would be more appropriate for many of the candidates.

Support can be requested for up to four years. The DOCS Program’s review committee will review each scholar’s progress annually. Particular attention will be paid to ensure that there has been no adverse change in the scholar's protected time for research, research infrastructure, or clinical or teaching responsibilities; demonstrated progress in research will also be expected.

Under extraordinary circumstances, the Department Chair may request an additional one to two years of support. This support requires competitive re-review, and will depend upon the availability of funds.