Skip Navigation
 

Physician-Scientist Workforce (PSW) Report 2014

Dentist-Scientists in the NIH-funded Workforce

Size and Composition of the Dentist-Scientist Workforce

Approximately 1000 individuals are full-time research faculty in dental schools, spending 80 percent or more of their time doing research. Over half of these faculty members hold a PhD, 163 hold a professional dental degree, and 118 hold a DDS or DMD/PhD. Figure 6.1 illustrates these findings.

Figure 6.1. Full-time Research Faculty at US Dental Schools, Selected Degrees (2003-2011)

Source: American Dental Education Association’s Comprehensive Faculty Survey (Annual); Primary Appointment: Research is defined as faculty who spent more than 80 percent of their time in research related activities.80

In 2012, 161 dentist-scientists were awarded an RPG from NIH (see Figure 6.2).

Figure 6.2. Individual NIH Research Project Grant Awardees, PhD and Dentist Degree (FY1995-2012)

Data were aggregated over 5 year windows to reduce double counting of individuals who apply multiple times or were awarded multiple grants during that window.

Thus, the PSW-WG estimates that approximately two percent of the NIH-funded physician-scientist workforce are dentists.

Gender

Among professionally active dentists, men outnumbered women almost 3 to 1 in 2012.81 That same year, female dentist-scientists received almost one-third of the RPGs awarded, i.e., a disproportionately high amount, as shown in Figure 6.3.

Figure 6.3. Individual NIH Research Project Grant Awardees, Dentist Degree by Gender (FY1995-2012)

Data were aggregated over 5 year windows to reduce double counting of individuals who apply multiple times or were awarded multiple grants during that window.

NIH RPG Award Rates

Between 1999 and 2012, there was a 41 percent increase in the number of dentist-scientist applicants, versus an 88 percent increase from veterinarian-scientist applicants (Figure 6.4). Despite the increase in applicants, the number of awards made annually to dentists remained relatively constant, attributable to the decreasing award rate among dentists which went from a one time high of 35.6 percent to the most recent rate in 2012 of 15.4 percent, as shown in Figure 6.5.

Figure 6.4. Individual NIH Research Project Grant Applicants, Dentist and Veterinarian Degree (FY1999-2012) Figure 6.5. Award Rate of Individual NIH Research Project Grant Applicants, PhD and Dentist Degree (FY1999-2012)

Participation in Early Career NIH Programs by Dentist-Scientists

The number of dentists participating in the LRP awards is so low that the data are not included here. The annual award rates vary because of the small numbers, but in general have gone from better than 40 percent from 1999-2001, to a range of 20-40 percent more recently (Figure 6.6). This is clearly a potential resource for encouraging research in junior dental faculty that has been underutilized.

Figure 6.6. Award Rate of Individual NIH Research Project Grant Applicants, PhD and Dentist Degree (FY1995-2012)

In 2012, the number of applicants for K awards from dentists was 13, a substantial decrease from a high of 36 applicants in 2006 (Figure 6.7). In 2012, the award rate for K awards among dentist-scientists was 30.8 percent, as seen in Figure 6.8.

Figure 6.7. Individual NIH Career Development Award (K) Applicants, PhD and Dentist Degree, without Prior RPG (FY1999-2012) Figure 6.8. Award Rate of NIH Career Development Award (K) Applicants, PhD and Dentist Degree, without Prior RPG (FY1999-2012)

Effects of Early Career NIH Programs on Dentist-Scientists

The number of dentist-scientists with L or K awards is so small that meaningful interpretation of the data is not possible. Despite the small numbers, the award rate of first-time RPG dentist-scientist applicants who had a prior K award appear higher than the award rate of first-time RPG dentist-scientist applicants who have not had a prior K award.

Figure 6.9. Award Rate of Individual First-time NIH Research Project Grant Applicants, PhD and Dentist Degree, with Prior K (FY1999-2012)

80 A select number of other degree holders are not shown, so the PhDs, DDS/PhDs and Dental Degrees (all) will not total the Total numbers.

81 http://kff.org/other/state-indicator/total-dentists-by-gender/

Back to top