Introduction Dental clinical academics are essential members of the dental workforce with roles in teaching, research and scholarship. There is currently a national shortage of UK dental clinical academics, with difficulties recruiting to all grades. In addition, there is evidence of gender inequality within academia, with segregation at a horizontal and vertical level.Aim To investigate the factors that influence a career in orthodontic clinical academia and highlight ways to improve recruitment and retention.Method A qualitative research study utilising focus groups. Purposive sampling was carried out to recruit participants at different stages of an orthodontic career. A total of eight face-to-face focus groups were conducted with 26 participants. Focus groups were split by gender and career stage. An inductive thematic analysis was used to generate themes.Results Three major themes were generated: academic career options, motivations and barriers to pursuing a clinical academic career.Conclusion This paper sheds light on the current factors affecting a career in orthodontic clinical academia. Worryingly, most dentists do not strive for an academic career and the barriers to pursuing this career option are discussed. Ways of addressing the issues facing recruitment and retention of individuals to orthodontic clinical academia are suggested.
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© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to the British Dental Association.