This page provides answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the eXcellence in Ophthalmology Vision Award (XOVA).

About the XOVA program

About applying for XOVA

About the XOVA program

What is XOVA?

The eXcellence in Ophthalmology Vision Award (XOVA) is an award program that is intended for eye care institutions and specialists, including those in training, and for specialist nurses working in eye care, who have devised non-profit educational or innovative initiatives that are expected to have significant impact on unmet needs in the field of eye care. Please note, the XOVA is not intended to provide funding for basic research or clinical trials.

What is meant by an 'educational or innovative initiative'?

XOVA aims to support initiatives that help to deliver sustainable improved eye care. A typical educational example would be: many practicing eye care specialists use vacation time to visit developing countries to provide their skills in cataract clinics. When they leave, their skills and knowledge often leave with them. An idea to improve local training and education for local doctors would have a more sustainable impact.

In settings such as these, it is important that any education to local doctors should be provided in a way that allows the implementation of learning in their own countries, with the local resources available to them. In addition, in order to ensure that the impact is sustained, the judges would expect to see a plan for long-term viability and impact in the benefiting country as part of the project.

A typical innovative example would be a novel approach to monitoring visual acuity changes through a convenient electronic medium (e.g., the internet).
Another good example is a Novartis Pharma AG initiative in Africa known as 'SMS for Life', which has provided local physicians and pharmacists with mobile telephones that enable them to implement a simple SMS-based stock ordering system. This has helped to prevent running out of anti-malarials, which has a clear impact on patient care. This type of initiative could be applied to any medicines in any country.

Who sponsors XOVA?

XOVA is an award program sponsored by Novartis Pharma AG.

How much is a XOVA worth?

Applicants may apply for grants of up to €50,000 in value.

Who judges XOVA?

All applications are screened by the XOVA coordinating team to ensure they meet the criteria outlined above and on the application form. Applications that meet these criteria may be short-listed for consideration by the XOVA committee.

The XOVA committee is comprised of expert representatives from numerous international institutions of eye health. They will consider all short-listed applications. Members of the XOVA committee may not apply for the XOVA. Final decisions relating to the XOVA winners will be made by the XOVA committee, following which the XOVA winners will be notified and listed on XOVAprogram.org.

About applying for XOVA

Who should apply for a XOVA?

XOVA applications from ophthalmologists, optometrists and allied eye healthcare professionals, including those in training, will all be considered, providing the application has to be made by an academic institution or organization.

Do entries have to be associated with an academic institution?

No. Applications must be made on behalf of an academic institution or organization that endorses the application. An academic institution such as a university would be one example of a suitable endorsing institution, but other types of organizations also qualify.

This is required because Novartis Pharma AG will need to execute a sponsorship agreement with the endorsing academic institution or organization before any funding can be released. It is not possible to execute the agreement with any individual person.

What is meant by organization?

This covers worldwide not-for-profit organizations, hospitals and clinics, and does not have to be associated with an academic institution such as a university.

How many of the people involved in the project should be named on the application form?

You are free to name as many people as you choose (providing there is space for them), or just the project leader.

Can we include photos or videos of the project so far and any supplementary information?

Yes, we would encourage you to submit photos and/or videos to supplement your application. Please ensure that photos and videos are of high quality.

The funding required by my project is more than €50,000; can I still apply?

The main aim of XOVA is to fund an initiative that will have a sustainable, positive impact on eye care where it is most needed. The funding requested must therefore be sufficient to enable positive results to be seen. If the total required to do this is more than €50,000, please complete the relevant section of the application form, indicating when and how you will obtain the additional funds required.

I need funding for a laboratory-based research project; can I apply?

No, the XOVA is not intended for funding research or clinical trials.

Is there any advantage to submitting my application form early?

No, all applications are judged together after the closing date has passed.

Can I send more than one application?

If you are involved in more than one project that is eligible for the award, please complete an application form for each. Please do not apply for funding for the same project more than once.

When will the results be announced?

Please check the XOVA homepage at XOVAprogram.org for up-to-date details of important dates.

If I have been successfully awarded a grant, how will the funding be transferred, and will I be able to start my project straight away?

As part of the contract you sign for receiving the funds, you will supply Novartis Pharma AG with an invoice. Novartis Pharma AG pays the funds directly to the winning project, enabling you to start your project as soon as possible.

Does XOVA offer indirect costs to cover my institution's overhead?

No, the award must be used to fund the initiative directly, and no extra funding will be available to cover indirect costs.

If I have been successfully awarded a grant, will I have to keep in touch with you?

Yes, one of the conditions of accepting the award is that you provide regular reports on the progress of your project.

Can you provide me with feedback on a previous unsuccessful XOVA application?

As in past years, we're unable to provide feedback on individual submissions. Winners will be notified by email shortly after the application deadline.

If I have been unsuccessful with my application this year, will I be able to apply again next year?

Yes, definitely! If your application was not selected last year, we encourage you to reapply. Every year, we receive a large volume of inspiring entries and are only able to fund a limited number. We know you share our commitment to making a difference in the fields of optometry and ophthalmology, and we look forward to learning more about your project in next year.