European FORCE Student of the Year final

We delighted to announce that the final of the first European FORCE Student of Year took place in Nice on the French Riviera (23rd March). The event was attended by students from eight European countries: Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

A total of 60 European students took part and eight teams of regional finalists went forward to present their research projects at the final in Nice. The teams were:

Andrea Bertelli and Sara Plebani, L’Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, Italy
Jakub Hlavàček, Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic
Alexandre Meslé, ISO Superior Institut of Optic, Bordeaux, France
Christiane Müller, Ernst-Abbe-Fachhochschule Jena, Germany
Lovisa Pettersson, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
Michelle Snowball, Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, UK
Tomasz Suliński, Adam Mickiewicz University, Posnań, Poland
Eva González Valbuena and Sara del Rio Castro, IOBA de la Universidad de Valladolid, Spain

Judging the projects were researchers and clinicians Stefan Bandlitz (Germany), Giancarlo Montani (Italy), Elena Garcia Rubio (Spain), Göran Skjöld (Sweden) and chairman Nick Rumney (UK). Entries were a mix of clinical trials, clinical review papers and laboratory studies, judged for the originality and importance of the project, and the quality and clarity of presentation.

This year’s overall winner was Michelle Snowball, a final-year optometry student at Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, UK, who was presented with the FORCE Student of Year award at a Gala Dinner on the waterfront in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Michelle receives a full delegate package, including travel and accommodation, for the American Academy of Optometry’s annual meeting in Seattle, USA, in October 2013. As UK Student of the Year, she will also attend the British Contact Lens Association’s Clinical Conference & Exhibition in Manchester, UK, in June, courtesy of CooperVision.

Her winning project described the development of a simple, hand-held, infra-red, trans-illumination device for imaging the meibomian glands in the lower lid. The device was used to investigate meibomian gland drop-out in normal subjects.

Summing up, Nick Rumney said the judges had a difficult task in deciding on the winner. They found Michelle’s study and presentation elegant, simple and accessible. ‘The findings have immediate practical value and the potential to change what any contact lens practitioner does when looking after patients.’

This year’s overall winner was Michelle Snowball, a final-year optometry student at Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, UK, who was presented with the FORCE Student of Year award at a Gala Dinner on the waterfront in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Michelle receives a full delegate package, including travel and accommodation, for the American Academy of Optometry’s annual meeting in Seattle, USA, in October 2013. As UK Student of the Year, she will also attend the British Contact Lens Association’s Clinical Conference & Exhibition in Manchester, UK, in June, courtesy of CooperVision.

Her winning project described the development of a simple, hand-held, infra-red, trans-illumination device for imaging the meibomian glands in the lower lid. The device was used to investigate meibomian gland drop-out in normal subjects.

Summing up, Nick Rumney said the judges had a difficult task in deciding on the winner. They found Michelle’s study and presentation elegant, simple and accessible. ‘The findings have immediate practical value and the potential to change what any contact lens practitioner does when looking after patients.’

He added: ‘CooperVision FORCE is a hugely significant forum for the future, the future of young researchers and the future of cross-country collaboration.’

Michelle said that meeting people from other countries had been a great experience. ‘I’ve learned so much, not just from watching the presentations but from chatting to students from all over Europe.’

Harald Angström, CooperVision’s Professional Service Marketing Director for the EMEA region, congratulated all the students on their fantastic presentations. ‘Carry the knowledge you have from today and learn from each other,’ he said. In future years CooperVision would like to see all universities and colleges in all markets take part.

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