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Forensic Odontology Scholarship

Advancing Singapore's Forensic Odontology capability with HSA scholarship

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Embark on a meaningful and exciting career in Forensic Odontology 

HSA has offered a scholarship in Forensic Odontology since 2021.

Forensic Odontology (also known as “Forensic Dentistry”) is an interdisciplinary field where dental expertise is applied to law, forensic medicine and forensic science. It is one of the specialist disciplines required within Singapore’s criminal justice system, where questions of the identity of perpetrators and victims are resolved through the examination and evaluation of dental evidence. 

As a Forensic Odontologist, you apply Dentistry in a medico-legal and forensic context, typically to (i) identify unknown human remains, (ii) estimate age of living and deceased individuals, (iii) analyse bite marks, and (iv) assess oro-facial trauma injuries. 

HSA Forensic Odontology Scholarship 

This scholarship is awarded to outstanding dentists or dental specialists who are passionate about contributing to Singapore’s public healthcare in the area of Forensic Odontology. 

The applicant must be working in a Public Healthcare Institution (PHI) at the point of application. Upon completion of study, he/she will be appointed as a Visiting Consultant with HSA and be placed on standby to assist in Disaster Victim Identification efforts. The applicant remains an employee of the current PHI, and not an employee of HSA. 

Studying Forensic Odontology at the University of Dundee

The HSA Forensic Odontology scholar will pursue the one-year full-time Master’s degree in Forensic Dentistry at the University of Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom. The Masters of Science in Forensic Dentistry program covers the broad spectrum of topics within the discipline of Forensic Odontology, and provides practical experience in actual post-mortem dental identification casework at a working mortuary (which is also one of a few approved training sites for specialty training in Forensic Pathology within the UK). The University of Dundee is internationally renowned in Forensic Odontology and is consistently ranked as one of the best dental schools in the UK.

Sharing by Dr Dennis Heng, Recipient of the HSA Forensic Odontology Scholarship*

Studying Forensic Dentistry at the University of Dundee has been such an eye-opening experience so far! Apart from learning more about the subject with numerous readings and reports to do, my coursemates also come from all over the world and it is refreshing to interact with them to hear about their experiences with dental school and clinical practice back in their home countries. Our two main course lecturers, Dr Scheila Manica and Dr Ademir Franco, are experts in the field who are very active in research and fieldwork. They have been great tutors and have imparted valuable knowledge to us so far and it’s been a great pleasure being under their tutelage.

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Dr Dennis Heng, recipient of the 2021 Forensic Odontology scholarship, attending his Master of Science in in Forensic Dentistry at the University of Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom (Central position: Dr Dennis Heng)

Dundee is the fourth largest city in Scotland and the university is an increasingly popular choice for students all over the world. The University of Dundee is also active in many issues such as equality, diversity and inclusion. The city is one of the sunniest in Scotland, relatively small and at times unexciting, but there are many active student groups who engage in various sporting and social events throughout the year! Otherwise, cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow are just an hour’s drive away from Dundee, or you can always travel down to London or Manchester by train or coach. Apparently, it’s also possible to see the Northern Lights in Dundee too!

Scottish people are also amongst one of the friendliest groups of people in the world, and this has made my study experience so far very pleasant – teaching and administrative staff has been so helpful to guide the occasional lost student around. All in all, I’ve really enjoyed my experience here, with the exception that the weather can drop to freezing temperatures during the winter months!

*He has completed his study and was awarded the Master of Science in  Forensic Dentistry by University of Dundee, United Kingdom  

Singaporean Forensic Odontologists and their international counterparts  

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AirAsia QZ8501 crash, Surabaya, Indonesia, Feb 2015 – Singaporean Forensic Odontologists (Dr Tan Peng Hui and Dr Gabriel Chong) deploying for a regional Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) effort.

Photo taken with colleagues from the Singapore Police Force and Health Sciences Authority, together comprising the second Singaporean DVI team for the AirAsia QZ8501 crash. 

SAF OMFT Symposium 2017 (002)

Participants of the 2017 SAF Oral Maxillofacial Trauma and Forensic Dentistry Symposium undertaking simulated forensic dental examination on human cadavers. Location: Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Singapore

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SAF Forensic Odontologist representing Singapore at the INTERPOL’s Forensic Odontology Sub-Working Group Meeting in Singapore, May 2019

Eligibility criteria

  • Singapore Citizen / Permanent Resident
  • Dentist with full registration by the Singapore Dental Council
  • Can be either a dentist (with at least two years of post-basic clinical experience) pursuing a first postgraduate qualification, or a dental specialist pursuing a second postgraduate qualification
  • Passion for serving Singapore’s public healthcare in Forensic Odontology
  • Have outstanding performance as a dentist or dental specialist in PHI
  • Outstanding academic results
  • Demonstrate clinical excellence and professionalism
  • Good communication skills
  • Possess leadership qualities or potential

Benefits

  • Travel insurance
  • Excess baggage allowance
  • Return economy airfare 
  • Settling-in allowance
  • Visa application fees

Please note that receipt of the scholarship does not equate to being an employee of HSA, and hence the terms of the scholarship does not include the payment of any salaries. 

Service commitment

The scholar will be bonded as a Visiting Consultant with the Health Sciences Authority for a minimum period of 7 years, where he/ she will be engaged to (i) provide case consultations and expert advice in the field of Forensic Odontology in support of coronial death investigation and other criminal legal proceedings; (ii) serve as a Forensic Odontologist during local or overseas Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) effort(s); (iii) conduct relevant training and workshops in Forensic Odontology, and (iv) undertake scientific research projects and/or capability development projects in Forensic Odontology.  

Application and interview

Please submit the application form by 28 February 2023. Interviews will be conducted in March / April 2023. Please note that only shortlisted applicants will be notified.

Successful scholars will need to apply to the Masters of Science in Forensic Dentistry at the University of Dundee on their own accord and successful award of the scholarship does not constitute nor guarantee a placing in the University of Dundee.

Scholars who are successful in securing a place in the university can expect to commence their studies in end Sep 2022 subject to the prevailing COVID-19 situation in the UK and COVID-related travel restrictions that may apply during that time. 

Keen to find out more?

For more information about HSA, please refer to this video on “A day in the life of HSA”. 

For more details about the Forensic Odontology Scholarship, please refer to the FAQ section below.

For enquiries, please email to Learning and Development, Human Capital Management @hsa-corp-l&d@hsa.gov.sg.

HSA Forensic Odontology Scholarship FAQs

1.  What are the eligibility criteria for the HSA scholarship in Forensic Dentistry?

  • Singapore Citizen / Permanent Resident
  • Dentist with full registration by the Singapore Dental Council.
  • Can be either a dentist (with at least two years of post-basic clinical experience) pursuing a first postgraduate qualification, or a dental specialist pursuing a second postgraduate qualification.
  • Passion for serving Singapore’s public healthcare in Forensic Odontology.
  • Have outstanding performance as a dentist or dental specialist in PHI.
  • Outstanding academic results. 
  • Demonstrate clinical excellence and professionalism.
  • Good communication skills.
  • Possess leadership qualities or potential.

2.  Will HSA consider me for a scholarship in Forensic Odontology if my results are not outstanding?

HSA takes a holistic approach when assessing applicants for scholarships. Beyond academic excellence, we will also consider your interest in health sciences and other relevant information. Applicants with outstanding achievements in non-academic achievements and community service could still be considered for the scholarship on a case-by-case basis.

3. I am from the private practice. Can I still apply?

In the first instance, we are opening the scholarship application for dentists and dental specialists in the public healthcare institutions only. We will inform if there are future openings for dentists and dental specialists in the private practice.

4. I am a foreigner. Can I apply for the HSA scholarship in Forensic Odontology?

No. The scholarship is open to Singapore Citizens / Permanent Residents only. 

5. I am a foreigner and in the midst of applying for Singapore citizenship. Can I apply for the HSA scholarship in Forensic Odontology?

You must be a Permanent Resident at the point of application.

6. I hold a conditional / temporary dental registration with the Singapore Dental Council. Can I apply?

Applicants must have full registration with the Singapore Dental Council at the point of application.    

7. What is the selection process?

The selection process includes interview with department heads and senior management. During the interview, the interview panel will also assess the applicants’ professionalism, communication skills, and passion for serving Singapore.

8. Do I need to secure university application before applying for the scholarship?

No. It is not necessary to secure application before or at the point of applying for the HSA scholarship. Nonetheless, the scholarship will only be offered to you upon successful admission to the Masters of Science in Forensic Dentistry at the University of Dundee. 

9. I know of another university that offer post graduate study in forensic dentistry. Can I apply with another university? 

The terms of the HSA Forensic Odontology scholarship are limited to a Masters degree in Forensic Dentistry (i.e. not a higher or lower academic qualification, such as a Doctorate degree or Graduate Certificate/Diploma) that is of one-year’s duration (at the maximum).

At the point of writing, only the University of Dundee offers a one-year Masters degree in Forensic Dentistry (Masters of Science in Forensic Dentistry). HSA will continue to keep track of the formal academic programs available globally and make an assessment on their suitability for inclusion in the HSA Forensic Odontology Scholarship.

In the University of Dundee’s Masters of Science in Forensic Dentistry program, you will develop your knowledge, experience and skills in forensic dentistry, and in aspects of forensic medicine, law and research. You will study:

  • Dental identification and profiling 
  • Disaster victim identification
  • Age estimation from dental sources
  • Dental report writing and giving evidence
  • Limitations of bite mark identification

10. While I am studying for the course in United Kingdom, will HSA pay me a salary?

No. HSA will not pay you a salary while you are studying in United Kingdom. However, you can continue to receive salary from the PHI that you are employed. Under the scholarship, you will receive:

    • Full tuition fees
    • Maintenance allowance for one-year
    • Travel insurance
    • Excess baggage allowance
    • Return economy airfare 
    • Settling-in allowance
    • Student visa application fees 
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