Richard Wilson Essay Prize

To mark our Ruby Year we launch the annual Richard Wilson Essay Prize to encourage nystagmus research.

In memory of Richard

Richard Wilson OBE served as Chair of Trustees of the Nystagmus Network from 2010 to 2019. During that time he introduced the very first Nystagmus Awareness Day, which he called ‘Wobbly Wednesday’, saw the charity’s investment in nystagmus research top £1,000 per week, established an annual UK nystagmus research workshop, hosted the charity’s first ever clinical training event, hosted 9 Open Days and brought warmth, smiles, song and a little bit of razzmatazz to everything we do.

Richard received his OBE from Her Majesty the Queen in the New Year’s Honours of 2018. He sadly passed away in 2023 and is fondly remembered by us all. It was decided to set up an essay writing competition in his memory to encourage further research and exploration into nystagmus. It is fitting that the inaugural prize will be awarded as the charity celebrates its Ruby Year, marking 40 years since its founding.

Who can take part?

Undergraduate and postgraduate students, including PhD, in orthoptics, medicine, ophthalmology, optometry, or a visual related science. Entrants must be registered with a UK-based institution.


Cash prizes of £500 (first prize), £200 (second prize) and £100 (highly commended) will be awarded each year at the discretion of the judges. The winner of the first prize will also receive an invitation to speak at the next Nystagmus Network Symposium and/or other events. All winning essays will be published on the Nystagmus Network website.  The top prize in 2024 will be presented by Richard’s widow, Mrs Jackie Wilson at a VIP event in London in November.


The 2024 panel includes Dr Gemma Arblaster, Lecturer in Orthoptics at the University of Sheffield and Dr Nikita Thomas, Lecturer in Optometry at Anglia Ruskin University. They will be supported in their decision making by Nystagmus Network trustees.

Judging criteria 

For entries to be considered they must:

  • provide background and significance to the proposed subject
  • describe the unmet need and/or challenges and/or opportunities that specifically relate to either fundamental research and/or diagnosis and/or management of nystagmus (of any form)
  • outline the possible conclusions and/or outcomes and/or impact of the proposed answer to the question AND its relevance to the nystagmus community

Essay Question for 2024

If resources were unlimited, what aspect of nystagmus research should be prioritised, and why?


Essays to be a maximum of 3000 words in length (excluding any diagrams, graphs, references, bibliography). The essay must include the full name and contact details of the entrant, the name of their institution and the course they are currently following and their highest academic qualification to date.


Applications open in January 2024. The deadline for submissions is 31 March 2024.


Completed essays should be emailed to [email protected] clearly marked ‘Richard Wilson Essay Prize’ in the subject line.

All enquiries to the Nystagmus Network

email:     [email protected]

Tel:         01427 718093