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Academic & Research

Academic study and clinical research is at the heart of patient care. Many doctors also find research intellectually stimulating and adds to their job satisfaction.

What does being a research-active ophthalmologist mean?  

Ophthalmologists can potentially have a long and rewarding career, made all the more interesting by participating in research, which can take many forms. These include:

  • leading research projects
  • recruiting patients for clinical trials
  • submitting data to epidemiological studies through BOSU
  • identifying research questions
  • supporting colleagues running projects
  • developing innovations, translating and implementing research studies.

The RCOphth recognises the value of research and we provide educational content and run courses to inform and support ophthalmologists to carry out research. The RCOphth manages audits, such as the National Ophthalmology Database Audit (NOD) and data collection through the British Ophthalmological Surveillance Unit. All ophthalmologists can contribute to these areas of research activity that benefit patient care.

We support ophthalmologists to participate in and contribute to clinical research as part of their core activity. The College supports ‘Ophthalmic Research By All’ as part of core activity for all ophthalmic professionals.

Academic & Research in Ophthalmology at the RCOphth

The RCOphth believes that ophthalmology and visual science research is the cornerstone of delivering innovation in the eye health care of eye patients and in eradicating eye disease and should be promoted and protected accordingly. It is therefore committed to supporting its members’ involvement in research across the spectrum – from discovery science to translation.

We are working with a range of stakeholders to ensure the systems and networks are in place to enable all ophthalmologists to put research at the centre of their practice.

We recognise the need for diversity and equality in patient participation in research and are actively working to promote this.

We support the Government’s mission to ensure that everyone is able to participate. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has found that patients and the public are keen to get involved with research. As an ophthalmologist, you have an opportunity to encourage patients and carers to take part in the research. 

Put research at the heart of your practice

This is an exciting time to embed research into your practice. The NHS Forward Plan articulates the ambition of one million people being registered as interested in taking part in research by 2024 and the Department of Health and Social Care has set out its vision in ‘Future of UK Clinical Research Delivery: 2021-2022 Implementation Plan’.

Academic Ophthalmology 

Academic Ophthalmology is the subspecialty that forms the cornerstone of research in ophthalmology and vision sciences, for which the UK has a world-leading reputation across the spectrum from discovery science to translation. 

The RCOphth recognises the importance of the subspecialty and encourages all ophthalmologists who wish to pursue this subspecialty. We set out how we propose to support academic ophthalmologists at each stage of their career in Advancing Academic Ophthalmology.

SAS Doctors

SAS ophthalmologists, including Associate Specialists, Staff Grades, Specialty Doctors, Clinical Assistants and non-training Trust Grades, make an enormous contribution to delivery of care in the NHS.

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Scholarships, awards and prizes

The Royal College of Ophthalmology offers a range of scholarships, awards and prizes every year to undergraduates, researchers and clinicians. Interested?

Find out more