7 May 2021

College of Optometrists releases ‘Forty Years of Research’ Report

The College of Optometrists has published a report reflecting on the history and impact of its research work and funding.

The report, which was compiled to celebrate 40 years since the formation of the College details how its research awards, support and collaboration have impacted on knowledge, practice, and defining the profession. 

Mike Bowen, Director of Research for the College says; “We are so proud to launch this report to our members, looking back on projects of all sizes, which have truly helped to shape the profession in important ways. The report demonstrates how the College has invested over five million pounds in optometry, optics, vision science and eye health sector public policy research. Research forms the foundation of clinical and professional practice and we are pleased to be have developed the profession’s knowledge and supported the development of clinicians, academics, researchers and teachers of future generations of optometrists. I hope the report interests our members, and they are proud of what they have achieved as a profession through their College. We really hope it may be a source of inspiration for future researchers at all levels.”

Some key highlights from the report are included below:

  • Approximately £400,000 has been invested in Research Fellowships since 2008
  • The College has awarded over 70 Postgraduate PhD Scholarships
  • More than 350 research funding awards have been made
  • Over £235,000 has been awarded by the Small Grant Scheme since 2008, for more than 30 practice-based research projects, across all 12 regions of the UK represented by College Council
  • The College has collaborated with over 40 partner organisations including universities, hospitals, eye heath care sector bodies, independent researchers
  • In the past 10 years, the College has awarded over £50,000 to 60 Research Excellence Award winners, based at research institutions from more than 10 countries, across four continents.

The report also includes key outcomes from a number of key research projects including The Enhanced Scheme Evaluation Project (ESEP), Northern Ireland Childhood Errors of Refraction Project (NICER) and The Prevalence of Visual Impairment in People with Dementia (PrOVIDe) project, amongst others. It also details the success of a range of member benefits that are produced by the research department, including research journals, Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics (OPO) the top-ranked optometry journal in the world, and Optometry in Practice (OIP), supported by engaging podcasts, which keep optometrists up to date with current research and developments in optometric practice.

The report can be read, in full, on the College website

To contribute to the Research Fund, visit the College’s donation page.


Notes to Editors

The College is the professional body for optometry. It qualifies the profession and delivers the guidance and training to ensure optometrists provide the best possible care. We promote excellence through the College’s affixes, by building the evidence base for optometry, and raising awareness of the profession with the public, commissioners, and health care professionals.

Related further reading

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