Professor Janet Clarkson

Professor (Clinical)

Dentistry, School of Dentistry

Portrait photo of Jan Clarkson
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Jan Clarkson graduated in dentistry from Newcastle University in 1984 and in 1994 she completed a PhD, entitled Development of a Classification and Index of Dental Treatment Experience, at Manchester University.

She is Director of Effective Dental Practice Programme and with Professor Ruth Freeman is Co-Director of the Dental Health Services Research Unit at the University of Dundee. Her remit is to conduct high quality research and promote the implementation of research evidence in dental primary care. Her research has included several clinical trials involving over 300 dentists and 10,000 patients.

Jan is a founding member of the Cochrane Oral Health Group and is Joint Co-ordinating Editor. She is currently Director of the Scottish Clinical Effectiveness Programme and the Scottish Dental Practice Based Research Network and is NES lead at Dundee Dental Education Centre.

  • 2013, Fellowship, Dental Faculty, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow
  • 2000, Member of the Institute for Learning and Teaching
  • 1998, Fellowship in Dental Surgery Paediatric Dentistry, Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh
  • 1991, Fellowship in Dental Surgery Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh


Jan’s research is in dental clinical effectiveness and knowledge translation. She has worked in health services research throughout her career, with a focus on issues relevant to primary care. As Director of DHSRU and SDCEP she undertakes and supports research that facilitates, informs and promotes health in order to reduce illness. This has involved primary and secondary research methods, principally randomised controlled trials (RCT) and Cochrane systematic reviews.

Much of Jan’s research is embedded in service and education delivery. The outcome has informed changes to Scotland’s dental remuneration policy, contributed to NICE and SIGN guideline development, provided evidence of the effect of change to national postgraduate education policy and informed methodological debates in RCT design. She was Principal Investigator of the only implementation trial of dental remuneration and education (CSO/SHEFC), the first cluster versus patient randomised trial (CSO), a UK evaluation of the impact of changes in the dental service contract (ESRC), and the first US funded Cochrane Systematic Reviews (NIDCR). Her theoretical interests are in the application of mixed methods to understand professional behaviour and to develop and evaluate interventions designed to enhance health. Jan’s current research focuses on the late phase translation of guidance in dentistry. This includes the TRiaDS (Translation Research in a Dental Setting) programme to develop a suite of experimental and quasi experimental methods, to inform service and education policy makers in Scotland, on the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of strategies to implement national SDCEP guidance. This programme has recently expanded into community pharmacy and optometry. The recent HTA awards, to evaluate different dental recall strategies whether to restore primary teeth and the effectiveness of scale and polish, reflects Jan’s approach to pursuing high quality research in dentistry being an author of the Cochrane reviews, the NICE guideline, and Principal Investigator of the commissioned trials. The National US PBRN are currently discussing replication of these trials in the US system.

As Joint Chief Investigator of three HTA multi centre HTA trials, Jan manages research funds of c£10m with collaborators across 10 sites involved with the recruitment of c180 UK dental practices and direct employment of 15 staff. In partnership with NES she manages the research budget for SDCEP which encompasses guidance development, translation research (TRiaDS) and practice based research (SDPBRN) c£600k per year.

In addition to collaborating with researchers across Schools within the College, Jan works in reciprocal partnership with international researchers in the Universities of Aberdeen, Manchester, Ottawa, Newcastle upon Tyne, Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrews, York, University College London, and GKT. This multidisciplinary collaboration includes statisticians’, implementation scientists, trial methodologists, health psychologists, economists, organisation scientists, statistical modellers, educationalists and clinicians. Jan has secured sustainable funding for her research group which comprises 14 researchers and 12 administrators.

View full research profile and publications


The focus of Jan’s teaching activity is to promote the translation of research evidence in clinical practice, support the conduct of high quality research in a primary care setting, and Cochrane systematic reviews.

International invitations to teach on 3-5 day courses

2012 New York USA Dental School
2012 Chicago USA American Dental Association Scientific Group Evidenced Based Dentistry
2011 Chicago USA American Dental Association Scientific Group Evidenced Based Dentistry
2011 New York USA Dental School
2010 Temple University USA Systematic Reviews and Evidence in Dentistry
2007 University of Harvard USA Evidence Based Dentistry to American Association of Equilibationists
2005 Chicago USA American Dental Association Scientific Group Evidenced Based Dentistry
2004 Rio Brazil ORCA Summer School
2004 University of Michigan USA Systematic Reviews in Dentistry
2001/2/3/4 Manchester UK UCochrane Oral Health Group annual course on Conducting Systematic Reviews
2001 Budapest Hungary ORCA Summer School
2001 Washington USA American Dental Association Teachers Evidence Based Dentistry
2001 University of Michigan USA Systematic Reviews in Dentistry
2000 University of Michigan USA Evidence Based Dentistry Course
1999 Krakow Poland ORCA Summer School
1995 University of Michigan USA Dental Practice Based Research