Research Grant Programs Launched to Advance Innovation in Oral and Craniofacial Health

Two new research grant programs have been launched in partnership with the Center for Innovation & Precision Dentistry (CiPD) to help advance innovative breakthroughs in dental medicine, with Penn Health-Tech and the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation incorporating these funding opportunities into their annual call for proposals for medical devices and health technology development projects.

“The CiPD is thrilled to co-sponsor these grant programs,” says Dr. Michel Koo, CiPD co-director and Professor, Department of Orthodontics and Divisions of Community Oral Health and Pediatrics at Penn Dental Medicine. “They represent the true spirit of collaboration between dental medicine and engineering faculties that is the core mission of CiPD.”

The CiPD, which officially launched in January 2021, is bridging Penn Dental Medicine and Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to develop cutting-edge, yet affordable, approaches to accelerate discovery and translation of new therapies, diagnostics, and devices in oral healthcare. Penn Health-Tech is an important partner to advance the CiPD mission.

“The funding opportunities offered by these grant programs are a testament to the continually evolving scale of innovative research and technology development at Penn. The CiPD is a great extension of this robust ecosystem and we look forward to this collaboration,” says Glory Durham, Associate Director of Penn Health-Tech.

The funding programs include the Innovation in Dental Medicine and Engineering to Advance Oral Health (IDEA) Prize and the Advancing Oral & Craniofacial Health Pilot Award.

The IDEA Prize is focused on supporting collaborative work at the dental medicine and engineering interface to develop new solutions to study, diagnose, prevent or treat oral diseases and craniofacial disorders. The award program supports investigators with no prior collaboration, as well as ongoing collaborative teams, investigating novel ideas using engineering approaches to kick-start competitive proposals for federal funding as well as for commercialization through private sector/industry. Awardees will receive up to $80,000 to support new breakthroughs.

The goal of the Advancing Oral & Craniofacial Health Pilot Award is to accelerate the translation of engineering and computational approaches to address unmet needs in oral health. Proposals can range from new ways to study and intervene in disease, to the development of biomedical tools, materials, and technologies for affordable diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of oral diseases and craniofacial disorders, including head and neck cancer. Awardees will receive collaborative mentorship and up to $50,000 support.

Both programs are open to faculty within Penn Dental Medicine and Penn Engineering. The application deadline is April 6, 2021 with awardees to be announced in May 2021.