The WCSM Education Trust

Founded in 2010, the principal aim of this Charity is to advance study, knowledge and education in the field of optics for the public benefit (and particularly for the benefit of the vision impaired).

In 2016, the WCSM Education Trust established a new bursary scheme for those starting optical training courses in the UK.  In the last 3 years we have helped more than 60 people in their first year of training as orthoptists, dispensing opticians or optometrists.  Bursaries are also open to those beginning foundation dispensing courses and courses leading to Level 4 optical support and optical technician diplomas.

A Travel Award Scheme for ophthalmologists in training was launched in 2017, offering awards of up to £1000 each to help with the costs of presenting research findings at national and international conferences and extending the Trust's reach to ophthalmology.  The next Travel Award Scheme will run in early 2020 with payments being made in late April/May 2020.


Travel Award winner Michael Gilhooley won the 2019 NANOS Best Abstract Award for his presentation on "Melanopsin: targeted ectopic expression for optogenetic visual restoration"

The application period for bursary awards of up to £1,000 for the academic year 2019/20 opens on Monday 7 October 2019 and will close at 5pm on Friday 20 December 2019. 

Click here for the statement of process for the scheme, guidance notes and application form.  There is a Word version of the form here too.  Students are strongly advised to read the guidance notes before completing the form.

The Education Trust will verify applicants' registration and attendance on their nominated course before considering any application and applications will only be accepted in a prescribed form.  Bursary payments will be made at the end of February 2020. This is a competitive scheme and only the most deserving students will be successful.  We do not offer hardship grants or individual sponsorship.

Information on the bursary scheme will be distributed via all universities and optical training institutions in the UK and will be advertised through the website and on Twitter (@spectaclemakers).  Information on travel awards will also be distributed via the Royal College of Ophthalmologists.

Successful applicants must hold a UK bank account, in their own name, into which funds can be paid. Award winners in both the bursary scheme and the Travel Award programme must provide written reports on their progress. The Trustees will take a continuing interest in their future careers. 

Feedback from 2016 bursary winners:

" I really appreciate the continued support you and the team have given me, I have had a great experience studying Orthoptics at Sheffield and 
you have played your own part in helping me qualify. I will be graduating next week with a 2.1 classification and I will be starting work as an Orthoptist very soon". 

Once again I cannot express enough the thanks I feel towards the company and the Education Trust for their financial help in my first year.  With so much to pay for accommodation and travel for my course, without it I may not have been able to continue with my dispensing studies. I am so grateful and wanted the company to know how valuable their contribution to students is, and the difference it makes."