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City Optometry student awarded Johnson and Johnson STEP grant

Second year student, Zainab Al-Alawi, receives Success Through Education Programme (STEP) grant for her project: Parent attitudes and beliefs around myopia management resources for children.

by Shamim Quadir (Senior Communications Officer)

The Johnson and Johnson Success Through Education Programme (STEP) educational project is an annual award for two recipients chosen from applicants across 16 UK university optometry departments. The grant was first awarded in 2015.

An annual, national call for submissions allows students to apply to conduct a literature review or project related to one of a number of suggested, key topics. Each optometry department puts forward their strongest application to Johnson and Johnson, and a judging panel at the company makes the final selection.

This year, second year Optometry student, Zainab Al-Alawi was awarded the grant for her project: Parent attitudes and beliefs around myopia management resources for children, in the third year running that an Optometry student from City, University of London has been successful.

Speaking of her success Zainab said:

It's not every day a student gets the opportunity to conduct a research study supported by an organisation like J&J. To develop many skills and be a part of exciting new research. Being the third-time STEP winner for City makes me immensely proud of myself and my university.

Recipients of the STEP grant are supported by a university supervisor and offered further support by Johnson and Johnson through The Vision Care Institute, while the project is typically be conducted outside the scope of the students’ degree.

Nevertheless, Optometry students are encouraged to extend the project so that it can count towards their final degree. For example, by increasing the sample size of participants studied in the project or by adding an additional objective.

Commenting on the grant and success of City’s students, Dr Byki Huntjens, Contact Lens Lead at the Division of Optometry and Visual Sciences, City, University of London, said:

"I believe the JNJ Educational Grant is incredibly valuable to engage optometry students in research. We talk a lot about evidence based practice, but doing it is a much more fun way of learning. It is very eye-opening for students to get involved in projects which improve our understanding of our patients and their struggles with contact lenses for example.

"I encourage thinking big, and following the STEP project, I motivate the student to submit an abstract, present their work at a conference, or even publish a paper. It is wonderful that JNJ supported three consecutive projects at City, University of London so far."

Find out more

Visit the Division of Optometry and Visual Sciences, City, University of London webpage.

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