Internal Research Grant (IRG)

The Internal Research Grant (IRG) Program supports research initiatives of relevance to oral health or dental education. This program promotes scholarly activity by faculty members whose primary appointment is within Schulich Dentistry. A maximum of $10,000 is available to successful applicants for seed money, one-time requests, and projects of short duration.



Application Form  
    >  Submit to Dentistry Research Office

Please complete all sections of the application form, following the page and size restrictions for each section. Incomplete applications will be returned to applicant. 

Deadline for submissionSeptember 15, 2018 - late applications will not be accepted

Past Award Winners  

  • The principal applicant must be a regular, full-time faculty member of Schulich Dentistry.
  • Applicants who currently hold research grants, contracts or internal funds (including start-up funds) totaling more than $15,000 a year are ineligible to apply.
  • Requests for funds to supplement existing operating or research grants, to augment funds for larger projects, or to attend workshops or training programs will not be accepted.
  • Applications from the same applicant will not be funded for the same project beyond two consecutive years.
  • Applicants re-applying after the first year of funding must provide a progress report of their research, including evidence of grant applied for and list of publications resulting from the IRG funding received previously
  • Preference will be given to those clinical faculty members striving to get new research programs established.

Guidelines for Projects: A faculty member may submit only one application per year. The project can be on any topic relevant to oral health or dental education, including biomedical, materials, clinical, health services, population health or educational research. Applications should provide a detailed budget that justifies the planned expenditures. Purchase of equipment costing more than $2,000 in total will not normally be allowed.


The Dentistry Research Committee will review and rank the submitted applications. Preference will be given to applications that offer a clear rationale for the proposed research, exhibit innovation, and contain a budget explaining fully how the money requested will be spent. Based on the Research Committee’s recommendation, the Director and Assistant Director of Research will make the final decisions on the awards and budget. Funds will be released by March of the next year (if all applicable Ethics, Animal & Biohazard approvals are submitted) and will be available for use for up to 1 year. Extensions will be granted in special circumstances upon written request to the Director of Dentistry.

Ethics, Animals & Biohazards

All research proposals involving human or animal subjects or biohazardous materials must be approved by the appropriate Western review committee. Approvals should accompany the proposal or be sent to the Director’s office within 60 days of the granting of the award. Funds will be encumbered and the project may not commence until appropriate approvals are received from the investigator.

Use of Funds

A research account will be established for each award. Investigators are expected to spend the funds in the manner proposed in the original request. Any unused funds must be returned to Dentistry at the end of the project period. Eligible expenses include salary for employees or trainees, supplies, publication costs and travel. Travel expenses are limited to a maximum of 15% of the total award and must only be used to attend a meeting to present the results of the research funded by the IRG Program. Funds cannot be used for computer hardware or non-research related items. Equipment purchases (including the software to run equipment) totaling no more than $2,000 and which are essential to carry out the study will be allowed. Use of funds for items not listed in the approved budget will require prior written permission from the Research Committee.


Within 3 months of the end of the project period, applicants must submit a report to the Director describing the research completed. Successful applicants will be provided with a report form. It is expected that funded projects will generate peer-reviewed publications and lead to applications for research funding from other sources.

2017/18 Competition Results

Congratulations to Drs. Les Kalman and Ali Tassi, Clinician Scientists, who were each awarded a Schulich Dentistry IRG of $10,000 each.

Dr. Les Kalman,
Assistant Professor, Restorative Dentistry
Coordinator, Dental Outreach Community Service (DOCS)
‘In vitro Testing and Validation of a 3D Printed Titanium Tempcap for Dental Abutment Systems’

Abstract: Dental implants are an important elective option for the replacement of a missing tooth or teeth.  The abutment acts an interface between the implant and artificial tooth/teeth.  A novel dental implant abutment has been developed and patented, called Tempcap.  Although initial Tempcap testing showed promising results for its potential clinical use, the manufacturing of its design may be costlier with current manufacturing techniques, due to the small size and geometrical features within the design.  This proposal presents a final design for the Tempcap, which has been optimized for additive manufacturing (AM) fabrication.  The modified Tempcap was determined based on design parameters that were feasible for 3D printing, while still meeting the clinical requirements.  The objectives of this investigation are:  (1) to compare the maximum torques experienced during insertion of conventional and 3D-printed Tempcaps into dental implants and (2) to assess the mechanical stability and fatigue life of 3D-printed Tempcaps under cyclic compression loading.  It is expected that the 3D printed Tempcaps will show similar or higher maximum insertion torques to the conventional Tempcap. When compared to the set 50 Ncm, the maximum insertion torques for 3D printed Tempcaps will fall within that clinical threshold.  It is also expected that the fatigue life of the 3D printed Tempcap will be more than that of the conventional Tempcap, representing superior mechanical performance under cyclic loading.  The funding requested from this IRG will support the testing and provide the necessary results required to verify and validate the 3D printed Tempcap for translation to clinical use.

Dr. Ali Tassi, Assistant Professor
Clinic Director - Graduate Orthodontics                
Co-investigators:  Drs. Roman Maev and Bartosz Slak (Windsor)
Ultrasonography in the Detection of Tooth Roots and Inter-radicular Spaces to Aid in the Insertion of Temporary Anchorage Devices for Orthodontics’

Abstract: Ultrasonography (US) has long been invaluable in various aspects of the medical field. It has been gaining ground and peaking interest as a diagnostic tool in dentistry as well. Thus far, most of the research has been surrounding soft tissues. There is reason to believe that US may also be beneficial as a diagnostic tool for hard oral tissues. Temporary Anchorage Devices (TADs) are used routinely in orthodontics for “anchorage” requirements and allow the orthodontist to successfully treat some patients that might otherwise require more invasive procedures like extractions and/or surgery. TADs, such as mini-screws and mini-implants, are usually placed between roots of teeth or in proximity to vital structures which is a very technique sensitive procedure requiring clinical judgement, skill and radiographs to assess proper placement locations. Improper placement can lead to injury to vital structures like nerves, periodontal ligaments/roots of teeth, and perforations into the maxillary sinus amongst others. Both clinical judgement and radiographs have some degree of error (abnormal tooth/root anatomy, overlapping roots, elongation/foreshortening etc.) not to mention the added exposure to ionizing radiation for the patient when radiographs are required.  Ultrasonography is a safe, non-invasive, convenient diagnostic method that has the potential to detect the presence of dental roots in the maxilla and mandible as well as measure alveolar buccal cortical bone. Our collaborators at The Institute for Diagnostic Imaging Research (IDIR) – University of Windsor have developed a novel handheld US methodology that can be potentially used to do this. Once validated in model jaw bone, followed by biological samples of the jaws, this US device has the potential to improve the accuracy of placement of TADs in orthodontic patients making the procedure less technique sensitive for the clinician and safer for the patient. Determining the thickness of buccal cortical bone in a non-invasive, convenient manner would also be very useful in selecting ideal TAD insertion sites to improve their stability and clinical success.

2017 Competition Results

Congratulations to Drs. Les Kalman and Harinder Sandhu, Clinician Scientists, who were each awarded a Schulich Dentistry IRG of $10,000 each.

Dr. Les Kalman

Assistant Professor, Restorative Dentistry
Chair, Dental Outreach Community Service (DOCS)
‘Development & Assessment of a Dental Shade App and Peripherals with Dental Students

Abstract: The determination and communication of dental shade can be one of the most challenging aspects for the restorative dentist and even more difficult for the dental student.  Improper shade determination is the second most common reason for laboratory remakes, which proves to be timely and costly.  Shade determination may have a subjective approach, based on numerous variables, or may employ technology, which has provided a slight improvement.  This research project will develop a novel software application and peripherals for the accurate determination and communication of teeth and soft tissue shades. 

Dr. Harinder Sandhu
Chair and Professor, Periodontics
Co-investigators:  Drs. Roman Maev and Bartosz Slak (Windsor)
Clinical Evaluation of an Ultrasonic Dental Device for Gingival Thickness Assessment

Abstract: Presently there is no objective, non-invasive technique available to assess the quality and quantity of soft and hard tissues in the oral cavity. Our collaborators at The University of Windsor have developed a novel compact device to address the clinical need for soft tissue measurements. We propose to clinically assess and evaluate this device prototype for non-invasive measurements of gingival thickness in dental patients treated at Schulich Dentistry. It is believed that the proposed device can considerably improve diagnosis and treatment of patients requiring periodontal intervention.