Background Providing medical students with opportunities for research experience is challenging for medical schools in developing countries. The Research Training Program (RTP), which is carried out in Ege University Faculty of Medicine (EUFM) parallel to the core curriculum, aims to improve the scientific competencies of the highly motivated students and to provide them with the opportunity to conduct a research. The purpose of this project is to evaluate RTP through the perspectives of students and faculty members. Methods This phenomenological study included two groups; students of RTP and faculty members who contributed to the program. Interviews were conducted with the research group whose selection was determined by maximum variation technique. Interviews with new individuals continued until data saturation was reached. Interpretative data analysis started with close reading of the transcripts and generating a list of codes. Coding by two independently, developing categories and themes were the following steps. Results Twenty-one RTP students and 14 faculty members were interviewed. The main motivation for students to participate was the desire to learn how to do research. The introduction course providing the students with the basic competencies needs to be improved in terms of practical activities. It was reported that during the project process students needed intensive guidance especially in finding a research topic and a mentor. The students' lack of time, deficit of enough mentoring and the fact that conducting a research does not provide a competitive advantage for residency are important obstacles to the completion of the program. The most frequently mentioned achievement of the students is to learn all the stages of the research as well as getting acquainted with critical thinking. Conclusions This research showed that it was realistic to implement research programs for highly motivated students in medical schools with conditions like those in EUFM. The solution of mentor shortage emerged in this study is dependent on the adoption of student research as a national policy. Getting acquainted with the interrogative thinking style, conducting research, and making lifelong learning a core value are more important outcomes of research programs than the number of completed projects.