NIDCR funding to US dental schools diminished from 2005 to 2009

January 11, 2011

Adding to the national debate on the state of dental research in U.S. dental schools, an article released today titled "Total NIH Support to U.S. Dental Schools, 2005-2009", published in the International and American Associations for Dental Research's Journal of Dental Research, authors J.A. Lipton and D.F. Kinane conclude that the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) has played a diminishing role in funding research at U.S. dental schools between 2005 and 2009.

Utilizing the online NIH RePORT, comprehensive award data were obtained for U.S. dental schools from 2005 to 2009. Fifty dental schools were awarded a total of $974.393 million, 69.3 percent from NIDCR and 30.7 percent from 21other NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs). Total NIH funding to dental schools from the NIDCR decreased from 73.6 percent ($147.200 million) in 2005 to 64.9 percent ($131.858 million) in 2009, a 10 percent decrease, while dollars from ICs other than NIDCR increased 34.6 percent between 2005 and 2009. Grants to U.S. dental institutions comprised 50 percent or less of total NIDCR awards globally from 2005 through 2009.

Peter Polverini, Professor and Dean of the University of Michigan , who recently hosted a workshop for dental deans on the issue of research-oriented dental schools commented on the Lipton and Kinane findings, stated, "if we continue to turn a blind eye to this disturbing trend and dental schools fail to provide faculty with the resources needed to gain a competitive advantage, we run the risk of losing our identity as a profession. . . dental schools and their parent universities must make research and discovery a core value of their mission." He provided these comments in an accompanying perspective article.

AADR President David Wong welcomed the data and call for action from Dean Polverini stating, "we must strengthen the research infrastructure of our nation's dental schools so that the best dental and craniofacial science, particularly translational science, is naturally based in dental institutions."

More information: The articles are published in the Journal of Dental Research. To read the abstract of the article by J.A. Lipton and D.F. Kinane, please visit jdr.sagepub.com/content/early/2011/01/10/0022034510390215.abstract

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