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Investing in closer research relationships

Microscope

2 Jul 2018

The Head of the University of Glasgow’s Dental School has praised SFC for supporting greater collaboration in Scottish dental research.

Professor Jeremy Bagg said the establishment of the Scottish Oral Health Research Collaboration (SOHRC) was enabled thanks to a grant from the SFC’s strategic investments fund.

“It has been exceptionally successful, facilitating the establishment of a close network of academic, NHS, primary care and secondary care colleagues, who now form the backbone of the SOHRC.”

Professor Bagg said the support provided by the funding had enabled SOHRC to establish its steering group and three cross-Scotland research collaborations, bringing these groups together and establishing effective working relationships and procedures.

“For example, the Dental Public Health and Health Services Research Group conducts research to reduce inequalities in current populations of concern, such as older people living in care homes and those with oral cancer.”

“Collaborating allows us to bring complementary skills and experience together, like the extensive experience of Dundee Dental School’s researchers in running large randomised controlled clinical trials in dental practice, with the public health approaches used by community oral health researchers at Glasgow Dental School.”

At the end of the three years of SFC funding, and because of its success, four of the main stakeholders (Glasgow and Aberdeen Dental Schools, Edinburgh Dental Education Centre and NHS Education for Scotland) identified funding within their own organisations to continue supporting SOHRC.

Professor Bagg said the research collaboration was now thriving to the extent that Glasgow and Dundee Dental Schools were likely to submit a joint return to REF 2021 in Unit of Assessment 3.

“So from my perspective, the SFC’s strategic investments fund has played a major role in enabling the integrated oral health, craniofacial anomalies and dental education research that is now underway in Scotland.

This view is also shared by Scotland’s Chief Dental Officer, Margie Taylor, who said, “Over the years since the initial funding from SFC we have seen a step change in the approach to research in Scotland with the concentration of efforts in the most important areas and those at which we excel. It has brought the research community together to ensure benefit to the population in Scotland.”

John Kemp, SFC’s Interim Chief Executive says SOHRC “is a ‘best practice example’ of what our strategic investments fund is intended to achieve”.

“Our goal is to help translate knowledge into practice, so that research can be transferred into practical benefits for Scotland and its people.”

“SOHRC is a great example of that in action. In this case it has resulted in a sustainable, long-term outcome to help improve Scotland’s oral health, which currently costs the Scottish Government over £400m every year.”

To see more stories about the difference others have made with SFC’s strategic investment fund, go to Strategic investments.