Universities to get their teeth into oral health problems

Published: 14 October 2011

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) is to support the Universities of Glasgow and Dundee with £132,000 to strengthen their collaboration on dental and oral health research

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) is to support the Universities of Glasgow and Dundee with £132,000 to strengthen their collaboration on dental and oral health research, which will contribute to better dental health services and care across Scotland.

The two university dental schools will focus on inequalities in dental health, access to dental services, oral cancer, and craniofacial birth defects (such as cleft lip and cleft palate).  The universities will also pool their resources to share an Administrator who will support their joint research activities; work with stakeholders including primary carers and the University of Aberdeen Dental School; and, crucially, seek additional sources of funding to sustain their programme of research.  Both universities will also work in partnership with the NHS Education funded Scottish Dental Practice Based Research Network, and dental practitioners, to put their research findings into practice through better dental and oral health care.

Oral health is recognised as a very sensitive measure of inequalities in general health and this research responds to Scottish Government priorities for improving oral health, as well as building on progress already made through oral health programmes such as Childsmile. 

Professor Jeremy Bagg, Head of the Dental School at the University of Glasgow who has been involved in developing the Scottish Oral Health Research Strategy said:

“Glasgow and Dundee Dental Schools have been moving towards closer collaboration on a number of fronts in recent times. This funding from SFC provides an excellent opportunity to build a strong and sustainable oral health research portfolio.  It will ensure that there is synergy and a sharing of expertise which will help both institutions to deliver research outputs relevant to the Scottish population and enhance their positions and research reputations within the UK and internationally.”

Mark Batho, Chief Executive of SFC said: “By combining their expertise to investigate the causes and effects of oral health issues, the two universities will be more effective and efficient in their research.  This research will provide important information that can help to improve the delivery of dental services and public health awareness that will in turn have a positive impact health of the nation.”

Margie Taylor, Chief Dental Officer for Scotland added: “I welcome the collaborative approach being taken by the Universities of Dundee and Glasgow on these very important subjects and look forward to the results of their research leading to improved oral health and a better understanding of oral cancer and cleft lip and palate.”

1 SFC’s funding of £132,000 spread over three years.
2 Childsmile is a national programme to improve the oral health of children in Scotland and reduce inequalities in dental health and access to dental services.  Details can be found at www.child-smile.org.uk/
3 The Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council (SFC) is responsible for allocating public funds to colleges and universities in support of Scottish Government priorities.  SFC was established by the Scottish Parliament in 2005 and is a non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government.
4 The Council’s funding contributes towards the costs of learning and teaching, skills development, research, innovation and other costs such as staff, buildings and equipment in Scotland’s 16 universities and three higher education institutions (collectively known as the university sector) and 41 colleges.  The Council also provides resources to enable colleges to offer bursaries to students on non-advanced courses.
5 The Council’s mission is to invest in the development of a coherent college and university system which, through enhanced learning, research and knowledge exchange, leads to improved economic, educational, social, civic, and cultural outcomes for the people of Scotland.


First published: 14 October 2011

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