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Dental Alumni Win New Zealand Research Foundation Prize

24 Dec 2020

The New Zealand Research Foundation Prize was established in 1982 by the New Zealand Research Foundation Board. It is awarded by the University Council on the recommendation of the Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry, each year to the final year Dental Student who, in the opinion of the Faculty of Dentistry, shows the greatest aptitude for research as an undergraduate. The award shall be made only to a candidate of sufficient merit. The recipients of this award, Clarine Cheah and Celeste Lim, began their Bachelor of Dental Surgery at the International Medical University (IMU), Malaysia in 2016 and transferred to the University of Otago, New Zealand in 2018 under the Partner Dental School Programme. While the prize is normally awarded to a single candidate, an exception was made in this instance as Clarine and Celeste undertook the elective research project together. The research paper titled; “The Dentist Will Scan You Now: The Next Generation of Digital‐savvy Graduates”, was published in August 2020 in the European Journal of Dental Education. The study focused on the undergraduate dental curriculum, particularly around digital technology and the feasibility of increased future exposure. Participants were given the opportunity to handle intraoral scanners to capture an optical impression and compare them to the conventional impression technique.

“Without doubt, our research experience was vastly different due to COVID-19. We were fortunate to have completed our data collection in the beginning of the year, allowing us to write and submit our paper for publication during the lockdown. Nevertheless, we have had a positive introduction to research with great support and guidance particularly from our supervisor, A/Prof Sunyoung Ma. It was all such a pleasant surprise, we actually did not intend to attend the prize giving ceremony but was informed to via email. What an exciting way to end a very unexpected and turbulent year!” Both Clarine and Celeste have graduated from the University of Otago, New Zealand in December 2020. The research paper can be assessed online at: Cheah, C., Lim, C. and Ma, S., 2020. The dentist will scan you now: the next generation of digital‐savvy graduates. European Journal of Dental Education.

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