University of Melbourne, Australian College of Optometry – Joint Statement


The University of Melbourne (UoM), and the Australian College of Optometry (ACO) have arranged for the relocation of the bulk of the ACO’s neuroscience program from July 1 2023.

The current program, under Professor Michael Ibbotson, has been housed at the National Vision Research Institute (NVRI) on ACO premises for many years. Prof. Ibbotson’s program will now be located at UoM as part of the Department of Biomedical Engineering within the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology.

The change has been brought about by the adoption of a new Strategic Plan for the ACO, in which the organisation’s research, and the work undertaken by the NVRI, will shift focus to clinical and public health research.

ACO Chief Executive Pete Haydon said the shift to a translational public health and clinical program will help the ACO to improve eye health outcomes for vulnerable communities.

‘We believe this will be invaluable to the profession of optometry as the ACO builds on its body of knowledge. We will share what we discover to enhance scope of practice for optometrists and public health practitioners everywhere.’

Throughout 2023, and for 2024, the ACO will continue to provide partial financial support for Prof. Ibbotson’s program at the UoM while the ACO/NVRI transitions to its new research.

UoM Pro Vice Chancellor Mark Hargreaves said ‘The University’s association with the ACO is decades-long. We look forward to that work continuing, both through our engagement with the ACO/NVRI’s new research program, and through the strong relationship between the ACO and the University’s Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences. Many thanks to Pete Haydon and the ACO team for their professionalism, which ensured this arrangement delivered genuinely mutual benefit’.

The collaboration between University of Melbourne and the ACO to ensure the swift transfer of the ACO/NVRI neuroscience program is indicative of a strong desire for broader engagement to benefit the communities both organisations serve.

Pete Haydon said: ‘I’m grateful to UoM staff for their collegiality in ensuring this very positive outcome.

‘On behalf of the ACO Council I thank Prof. Ibbotson for his contribution to the ACO/NVRI over the last eleven years. We are pleased to be able to help in supporting his work in an ongoing way while we begin to roll out our new program.’




Pete Haydon
Chief Executive Officer

Australian College of Optometry

Share this article