Each year, top students from leading colleges and universities vie to compete in the CooperVision European Future Ocular Research Creativity Event (FORCE). This year’s FORCE competition was rolled out in late March in three ACE markets: Bulgaria, India and Israel.
FORCE aims to inspire students to strive for excellence in their studies, and to encourage them to develop their professional knowledge base and establish contacts to benefit their future careers. Students, either individually or in pairs, work on a six- to eight-week contact lens-related research project. Each college or university selects their representative FORCE winner, who then competes with other students to determine the country’s FORCE winner. National winners go on to compete in the regional final, where they present to a panel of CooperVision-selected judges.
FORCE Bulgaria was the first time the competition has been hosted in both Bulgaria and the first time a CooperVision distributor hosted the competition. The winning project from student Maxim Yanev was overseen by supervising professor Dr. Hristina Grupcheva of the Medical University of Varna and focused on congenital color vision defects and the use of X-Chrome contact lenses.
FORCE Israel was the first competition in the country and students from Hadassah College, one of two optometry schools in Jerusalem, competed. The winning project, by students Malaki Matter and Yara Jabili, was titled “Complications and Compliance in Purchasing Over-the-Counter Contact Lenses Versus Patients Fitted By a Contact Lens Practitioner.”
FORCE India was held in India’s business capital of Mumbai. After months of hard work and preparation, 20 students from eight colleges throughout India presented their projects to a distinguished panel of judges, joined by faculty from several Indian schools of optometry. The winner of the event and FORCE India Student of the Year was Jude Remedios Menezes from Elite School of Optometry in Chennai, South India.
“We came in as young, budding researchers competing against each other as participants and left as amazing friends,” said FORCE India student participant Manini Vakil. “This is what it looks like when people with the same interests come together.”
Winning students from each of the three ACE regions will join fellow national FORCE winners to compete in the European finals in May 2018. The winner will be named the CooperVision European FORCE Student of the Year and receive a complimentary trip to an international optometry conference, including travel and accommodations.