Align Technology Inc, Santa Clara, Calif, has launched the first university-centric research award program to further the development of clear aligners for the treatment of malocclusion. The Align-sponsored Clear Aligner Research Award Program is designed to promote both clinical and scientific research in clear aligner therapy. Eligible applicants include full-time university faculty involved in orthodontic scientific research, as well as non-orthodontic scientists whose work may contribute toward the improvement of clear aligner therapy.

"Breakthroughs in orthodontic treatment with clear aligners over the past decade have enabled aligners to be used for a wider range of patients, including younger patients and those with more severe malocclusion," said Align’s vice president of clinical technology, Eric Kuo, DDS, MS, in an announcement. "Through this program, we hope to facilitate greater understanding and advancement of the scientific processes behind clear aligner therapy."

Align will invest up to $100,000 per year for scientific research. Under the program, two funding options will be available to qualified orthodontic faculty: a 1-year funding option of up to $25,000 per year and a 2-year funding option of up to $50,000 maximum.

Applications for funding can be downloaded here. Completed applications must be e-mailed to [email protected] by 5 PM Pacific Time on March 15, 2010. Applicants will be notified of funding decisions by April 30, 2010.