About the Center for Surgical Innovation

The Center for Surgical Innovation (CSI) allows surgeons and engineers to innovate like never before, rapidly developing, testing, and validating new surgical tools and techniques, with the goal of achieving better, safer, and, in some cases, less-costly care for patients everywhere.

A joint endeavor by Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and Dartmouth College's Geisel School of Medicine and the Thayer School of Engineering, the CSI offers a unique research environment, prioritized for the full spectrum of bench-to-bedside investigations aimed at improving the efficacy and safety of surgery.

The CSI is a research facility with three distinctions: a controlled surgical environment with integrated multi-modal 3D imaging, architectural engineering for safe co-location of animal studies, and prioritization of research activity over routine clinical care. This facility contains two operating rooms and two procedure rooms and is equipped with advanced technology: CT, MRI, fluoroscopy, robotics, and surgical navigation. No other center like this exists nationally.


Initial capital funding for the CSI came from the National Institutes of Health ($9.3M), Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center ($7.8M), Geisel School of Medicine ($2.3M), and Thayer School of Engineering ($2.3M). Fundraising for additional equipment and technology needs, pilot research funds, student fellowships, a Center directorship, and a Center endowment is ongoing. (More details are available on the Gift Opportunities page.)


The CSI will provide students, residents, fellows, and faculty in multiple disciplines, at Dartmouth and across the nation, the framework to do the following:

  • pursue innovation in the rich research facilities provided by Dartmouth,
  • receive early guidance and mentoring to refine their ideas, and
  • grow pilot projects into research programs with sustained public-private funding.


The CSI provides expertise, resources, and guidance for rapidly translating new ideas from bench to bedside. Historically, innovation in surgery has been sporadic, dependent on chance and driven by individuals, and more recently via industry sponsorship. The CSI will accelerate surgical improvements, make the process systematic, and serve as a national resource for engaging multidisciplinary scientific teams to focus on improving the efficacy and safety of surgery for brain dysfunction, cancer, back pain, and other major human health concerns currently facing our nation.

The CSI will launch academic research careers and incubate fundamentally new approaches to important surgical problems. It will accelerate the progression of ideas of significance from the early phases of prototype development to small-scale testing and validation, to large-scale comparative effectiveness evaluation, and to commercialization and dissemination into practice.

Specific aims

  1. Manage a prospective patient outcomes registry to track radiation exposure, surgical-site infection, and patient-reported outcomes for all patients receiving surgery under the purview of the CSI.
  2. Mentor talented investigators from diverse disciplines to become successful clinician-scientists and biomedical engineers with independent funding to develop novel image- and/or automation-based strategies and pathways to improve surgical interventions and outcomes.
  3. Coordinate scientific forums to foster collaboration, guide proposal development and budgeting, and manage project operations, staffing, progress, and reporting.
  4. Provide academic and industry partners across the nation with access to a cost-efficient process for exploring high-impact innovations and ideas, from conception to feasibility testing, validation, and dissemination.
  5. Establish a financial model for the CSI that will provide self-sufficiency through cost efficiencies and optimal use of resources, and that will share net revenues (or losses) with Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and Dartmouth College, as well as re-invest in the CSI.