Research to Prevent Blindness

RPB Catalyst award for innovative Research approaches for age-related macular degeneration

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If you have any questions regarding the RPB Grants Program, please contact RPB's Grants Administrator, Pattie Moran, at 646-892-9566 or

The Catalyst Awards for Innovative Research Approaches for Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) will provide funds to researchers who are working on novel approaches to understanding or treating AMD.  RPB is partnering with:

  • American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF)
  • Dr. H. James and Carole Free
  • International Retinal Research Foundation (IRRF)

to co-fund up to three (3) Catalyst Awards (one award with each partner).  Ideally, at least one of these awards will focus on a translational project - clinically relevant research that could lead to therapeutics or treatment for AMD - not yet in clinical trials. 

Each award is $300,000 payable in two (2) payments, $150,000 per payment with the second payment contingent upon approval of a 14-month substantive progress report. 

A wide range of applications will be considered to improve the understanding of AMD and/or to develop novel treatments for dry or wet forms of AMD.  Example projects include but are not limited to AMD genetics and pathogenesis; predictive models of AMD development; new animal and in vitro models that can be used to study features in AMD; prevention of retinal degeneration; new methods of diagnosis or tracking AMD progression; metabolic factors in AMD; stem cell treatment of retinal degeneration; optogenetics; and therapeutics-delivery - or other treatment - innovations.  These Catalyst Awards are intended to provide seed money to proposed high-risk / high-gain vision science research, which is innovative, cutting-edge, and demonstrates out-of-the-box thinking.  The Catalyst Award will not fund:  incremental extensions of previously or currently funded research by the NEI, NIH, other government agencies, non-profits, private funders, etc. or research that does not have a direct connection to AMD. 

This award is available to researchers from any institution of higher education in the U.S.   Full-time department Chairs can nominate one candidate holding a primary academic position as Assistant Professor through full Professor.  Candidates must provide not less than 5% effort for the proposed research.  Awardees are required to expend the award within three (3) years if granted the full $300,000. Otherwise, the awardee is required to expend the initial $150,000 within two (2) years.

The fall cycle application deadline for the Catalyst Award is July 1, with nomination forms due no later than June 15.  Applications received without a prior nomination form will not be accepted.  This award is not available during the spring cycle.  (If the nomination or application deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, consider the following business day the deadline. 

The nomination and application forms as well as the guidelines and instructions for completing the application form for this award are available below.

RPB Catalyst Award Nomination Form

RPB Catalyst Award Application Form

RPB Catalyst Award Guidelines / Instructions


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