Enabling research and innovation

Research award program

Align Technology believes in enabling research and innovation within the dentistry industry with a goal to improve orthodontic and dental treatment for communities around the globe.

In 2010, Align Technology began the Research Award Program with the goal to support clinical and scientific orthodontic and dental research in universities across the globe. Since its inception in 2010, we have funded over $2.0 million in research awards. Research has provided insights into various areas including tooth movement efficacy with clear aligner therapy, oral hygiene and microbial bacteria presence or absence with clear aligners, and comparisons in quality of life with aligners as compared to fixed appliances.

Each year, awards are made available for dental research at universities across the globe. All applications are reviewed by an independent academic committee that forwards its recommendations to Align Technology for final selection.

Awards available for 2020 were four one-year awards of up to $25,000 each for dental research at universities in the America’s (includes Canada, Latin America and South America), four one-year awards of up to $25,000 each for dental research at universities in EMEA, and four one-year awards of up to $25,000 each for dental research at universities in APAC.

Eligible applicants for the dental research award component included full- and part-time faculty involved in dental or scientific research at universities at which Invisalign® treatment is available. All award applications received were first reviewed and prioritized in a blind evaluation by an independent academic committee. The final recipients were then determined by Align Technology.

Awards available for 2021 for dental research at universities are available in the following regions: Americas (US, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America): Four one-year awards of up to US$25,000 each; EMEA: Four one-year awards of up to US$25,000 each; and, APAC: Four one-year awards of up to US$25,000 each.

Eligible applicants for dental research awards include full- and part-time faculty involved in dental or scientific research at universities at which Invisalign® treatment or the iTero scanner is available. All applications are reviewed by an independent academic committee that forwards its recommendations to Align Technology for final selection. Program details, instructions, and application forms for prospective applicants can be found here (for Americas, EMEA and APAC applicants). Research proposals and completed applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time on March 5, 2021. Award recipients will be notified by June 7, 2021.

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Recipients of 2020 research grants

Recipients of the 2020 research grants are highlighted below. The funded research studies cover a wide range of topics for projects seeking to better understand treatment in orthodontics and dentistry including:

  • effects of orthodontic appliances on the active oral microflora,
  • Invisalign treatment in adult anterior open bite patients,
  • 3D changes in the nasal airway after maxillary arch expansion,
  • temperature conductivity to the tooth surfaces due to light-curing during bonding,
  • Invisalign First™ treatment on the transverse dimension,
  • evaluating palatal volume and surface area measurements between two appliances,
  • the effect of aligner wear time on gingival crevicular fluid,
  • evaluating a light-curing appliance that will reduce chairside time, and
  • determination of the stability of the palatal rugae in non-extraction cases, especially in the cases with molar distalization.

The Americas research award recipients for 2020 are:

  • University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada) – Primary Investigator, Dr. Tarek El-Bialy
  • University of Toronto (Toronto, Canada) – Primary Investigator, Dr. Siew-Ging Gong
  • Jacksonville University (Jacksonville, USA) – Primary Investigator, Dr. Tabaa Sawsan
  • University of Washington (Seattle, USA) – Primary Investigator, Dr. Greg J. Huang

The European research award recipients for 2020 are:

  • National Kapodistrian University of Athens (Athens, Greece) – Dr. Iosif Sifakakis
  • University of Campania (Naples, Italy) – Primary Investigator, Dr. Letizia Perillo
  • University of Rome “Tor Vergata” (Rome, Italy) – Primary Investigator, Dr. Roberta Lione
  • University of Turin (Turin, Italy) – Primary Investigator, Dr. Bruni Alessandro

The Asia Pacific research award recipient for 2020 is:

  • Stomatology Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University (Shaanxi, China) – Primary Investigator, Dr. Yu-cheng Guo