The evolution of surgical practice may lead to increasing difficulties for surgeons to perform fundamental research. The aim of this study was to evaluate the expectations and the challenges encountered by young surgeons when starting basic science. A qualitative study was conducted in France. A written questionnaire was anonymously filled by the participants attending to the Master Degree in surgical science. The study included 47 participants (median age: 28 years, 59.6% of men); 37 (78.7%) participants had applied for a grant for their salary and 32 (68.1%) had obtained it. Nine (19.1%) participants had planned to keep their usual clinical activity. The main motivations were the perspective to embark on an academic career (55.3%) and improvement of knowledge in science (38.3%). The main barriers encountered were the lack of time (70.2%), the lack of interest (27.7%), the lack of financial support (23.4%) and administrative difficulties (12.8%). This study identified main barriers that young surgeons have to face when getting involved in basic science underlining the need to improve institutional and financial support to ensure involvement of new generations of surgeons in surgical research.