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Practice Based Research

Interested in carrying out some practice-based research but not sure where to start?


Have you noticed a recent trend in patients presenting themselves for an eye examination, or in their attitudes to optometric care, and would like to understand more? Perhaps you simply want to develop your skills in research in order to help you move your own practice forward and would like some help in getting started.

iPRO (Innovation in Practice-based Research for Optometrists) is a research support facility, wholly funded by the College of Optometrists, designed to provide a range of services to College Members who may be considering carrying out research within their community practice. 

Research advice and mentorship

The iPRO team has considerable research support experience and expertise and will be able to provide you with expert advice and assistance at any stage of the research process, from protocol development to dissemination of findings, and including the preparation of applications for a Small Grants award. You can access this support on a one-off or ongoing basis by telephone, email or in person.

iPRO Small Grants Scheme

The College of Optometrists funds a Small Grants Scheme to help support small scale research studies. Funding is available to cover the material costs of undertaking a project, including the employment of a locum to provide cover in the researcher’s absence.

Potential researchers may contact iPRO for advice before making an application. iPRO will maintain regular contact with grant holders to provide ongoing advice, increase the prospect of the project reaching conclusion and encourage the dissemination of findings.  Each grant will normally be completed within one year of a grant being awarded and is worth up to £10,000 (although many applications are for a significantly smaller amount).

The Small Grants Scheme funding is available for projects that take place in the UK.

How do I apply?

The deadline for applications for Stage 1 of the Small Grants Scheme in 2016 has now passed. Check back here for news of the next round.

The application process involves two stages, with Stage 1 reviewing the initial feasibility and relevance of the project. Successful Stage 1 applicants will be invited to submit a more detailed Stage 2 application.

For information, the Application Form and Terms and Conditions for 2016 are available below. Please note that all applicants are encouraged to contact the College before submitting an application, so that advice about completing an application can be offered.

  SGS 2016 - Terms and Conditions
SGS 2016 - Stage 1 App Form

If you have any queries about the scheme or submitting an application, please contact the College Research Team at


iPRO enquiries:

College Research Team:

Nita Odedra 222x222

"I’ve gained several new skills which I now use in everyday practice"

“I’ve always been interested in evidence based best practice. A patient asked if contact lenses could help with Nystagmus and I didn’t know the answer, so my colleagues and I developed a research question exploring this area. 

“My project allowed me to learn almost everything about conducting research: from planning a study applying for funding; carrying out fieldwork; obtaining patient consent, to arriving at results. My knowledge about medical statistics has improved significantly, and I was also the second author on the published paper in a peer reviewed journal. I’ve gained several new skills which I now use in everyday practice.”

Nita Odedra MCOptom Dip Glauc