College honours Professor Sir Colin Blakemore with President’s Research Medal

  • 26 Jan 2018

The College awards its second ever President’s Research Medal for a lifetime contribution to vision science research.

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The College of Optometrists awarded the second ever President’s Research Medal to Professor Sir Colin Blakemore, a Professor of Neuroscience and Philosophy at the School of Advanced Study at the University of London, and Emeritus Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Oxford. The award was presented at the Wellcome Collection on Thursday 25 January when Professor Blakemore delivered the College’s Research Excellence Lecture entitled; ‘A visual experience’, to a packed audience including leading members of the optometric research community and College members.

Speaking after his lecture, Professor Blakemore said; “It’s a very special honour to receive the President’s Research Medal from the College of Optometrists and to give the Research Excellence Lecture. Although I didn’t train as an optometrist, I have a strong association with the profession. I did my PhD in the School of Optometry in Berkeley, California, and the contact with teachers, researchers, clinicians and students in optometry had a deep effect on me, and on my research.”

Dr Mary-Ann Sherratt, President of the College of Optometrists, said: “Research is a crucial basis for any profession and the research commissioned at the College has played a critical role in the evolution of the evidence base for optometry, allowing practising optometrists to advise patients on the most efficient and cost effective treatments. I’m particularly pleased to present this award to Professor Sir Colin Blakemore; he presented the prestigious Charter Lecture at the Optometry Tomorrow conference in 2016, and has for many years been a great friend to the profession of optometry.”

The College Research Excellence Awards recognise achievements and celebrate outstanding contributions to research in the fields of optometry, optics and vision science. The most prestigious of the Awards is the President’s Research Medal, which is given every four years for outstanding contribution and recognises a lifetime career in optometric or vision science research. The recipient is invited to give the College’s Research Excellence Lecture. The inaugural winner was Professor Larry Thibos, Emeritus Professor of Optometry at Indiana University in the USA, in 2014.

To find out more about the College’s Research Excellence Awards, visit A recording of Professor Blakemore’s presentation will be available on the College’s website soon.

Professor Sir Colin Blakemore was the keynote speaker at the Optometry Tomorrow conference in 2016. Keynote speaker at Optometry Tomorrow 2018 is TED Fellow and eye health care innovator, Dr Andrew Bastawrous who will be speaking about reducing avoidable blindness globally. To book tickets visit:



Notes to Editors

  1. About Professor Blakemore

    Professor Blakemore studied Medical Sciences at Cambridge, did a PhD at the University of California, Berkeley and then taught at Cambridge for 11 years. In 1979 he moved to Oxford as Waynflete Professor of Physiology, and was also Director of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience. From 2003 to 2007 he was Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council, and moved to the School of Advanced Study in London in 2012. His research has been concerned with vision, development and plasticity of the brain and neurodegenerative disease. He has been President of the British Science Association, the British Neuroscience Association, the Physiological Society and the Society of Biology. He is also passionately committed to engagement between science and the public, and to the importance of science in government. He was knighted in 2014 for “services to scientific research, policy and outreach”.
  2. The College of Optometrists has introduced an opportunity for members, organisations and the public to support the College’s research work. The College is inviting donations to allow individuals and organisations to play a part in its work to develop evidence that is capable of advancing the profession, reduce preventable vision loss and providing accessible, high quality, eye care for all. To contribute to the Research Fund, visit the College’s donation page:
  3. 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.
  4. The School of Advanced Study (SAS), University of London, is the UK’s national centre for the promotion and support of research in the humanities. SAS and its member institutes offer unparalleled resources, facilities and academic opportunities across a wide range of subject areas for the benefit of the national and international scholarly community. Last year SAS welcomed 786 research fellows and associates, held 2,007 events highlighting the latest research in the humanities, received 24.4 million online visits to its research resources and platforms, and hosted 194,145 visits to its specialist libraries and collections. The School also leads Being Human, the UK’s only nationwide festival of the humanities. Find out more at or follow SAS on Twitter at @SASNews.
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