In September, the ADEA Institutional
Capacity Building (ADEA ICB) portfolio guided ADEA members on developing a
successful research career via a webinar titled “Navigating the Research Landscape: Key
Strategies for Success.” For the continued success of dental education
professionals, research and scientific discovery must serve as core missions
for each academic dental institution. Research and scientific discovery must be
integrated throughout academia and patient care in the educational and
Within the last decade, National
Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) funding to academic
dental institutions has declined. For example, in 2012, academic dental institutions
received about 45% of NIDCR’s extramural funding, compared to 50% a decade ago.
Three research experts led the panel
discussion: Eric T. Everett, M.S., Ph.D., Associate Dean for Research,
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry; Ana Karina
Mascarenhas, B.D.S., M.P.H., Dr. P.H., Associate Dean for Research, Chief of
Developmental Sciences, Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine;
and Charles Sfeir, D.D.S., Ph.D., Associate Dean for Research and Director,
Center for Craniofacial Regeneration, University of Pittsburgh School of Dental
All shared how their passion motivates
them to find answers in key questions in dentistry. Each panel member took
turns leading the discussion of six relevant research topics: passion, goal
setting, funding, mentoring, time management and publishing. Throughout the
discussion, the panel members gave relevant examples from their experiences.
They first addressed the need for
researchers to find a relevant, interesting topic. The speakers suggested
creating a list of personally interesting topics to serve as a first-step in creating
a road map to finding a relevant topic. Next they discussed goal setting, how
to handle setbacks and how key it is to remain flexible in trying to meet
goals. After finding a key topic, the most important key to starting is to find
funding, both institutional and national, from federal agencies, which can be
found in the slide presentation.
To find guidance during the research
process, faculty should to find a mentor. The panelists addressed how to
approach someone, what qualities mentors should possess and how to choose
someone who has the time to be a supporter throughout the process. Next, the speakers
addressed time management strategies for working full-time as a faculty member
and also finding time to do the research. Their suggestions included dedicating
a set number of hours on certain days to complete writing.
Finally, publishing findings is important.
If findings go unpublished, the panelists stressed, others can’t learn from the
research efforts and findings, thus negating the efforts put into researching a
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