Global contact lens manufacturer CooperVision has launched the sixth cycle of the European FORCE Student of the Year competition.
The Future Ocular Research Creativity Event (FORCE) is an annual competition in the field of contact lenses, pitching the very best students from colleges and universities all over Europe and beyond, against each other to become the CooperVision FORCE Student of the Year.
FORCE aims to inspire students to strive for excellence in their studies, and to encourage them to develop their professional knowledge base and contacts to benefit their future careers.
Students conduct a six- to eight-week research project – a clinical trial, clinical review paper or case report – on a contact-lens related subject. Those chosen to represent their college or university meet at national finals for the chance to compete against winners from each country in the European FORCE final. The 2018 final will be held at the CooperVision Centre of Innovation in Budapest, Hungary on 11th and 12th May.
The judging panel led by chair Professor James Wolffsohn of Aston University. Birmingham, UK will award the title of CooperVision European FORCE Student of the Year 2018 to the overall winner. The prize is a full delegate package, including travel and accommodation, to attend an international contact lens meeting.
‘Evidence-based practice is the core of the optometric profession and FORCE is unique in giving an opportunity to students from every contact lens teaching university to further their career as key opinion leaders and profession shapers of the future,’ said Professor Wolffsohn.
‘This is a life-changing opportunity for students to enhance their career and is great publicity for contact lens teaching universities. I would strongly encourage them all to take part and to give their students this great prospect.’
Teams of students and educators from nine countries participated in the 2017 European FORCE final. Winners of FORCE Student of the Year 2017 were Alessandra Rossi and Sara Picarazzi from the University of Milano-Bicocca in Italy, Supervised by Silvia Tavazzi, this team had evaluated the absorption of eyeshadow in soft contact lenses.
Sara commented: ‘I got involved in my first research project thanks to my teacher at university. Winning the award shows the important work our university can do and gives us the chance to publish our project. FORCE opens up a great opportunity for study. It’s really important for young researchers starting out on their careers.’
Sara Picarazzi (centre) receives her certificate from chair of the judging panel Professor James Wolffsohn and CooperVision’s Professional Services Manager Europe, Amanda Bogers