Research to Prevent Blindness

RPB Stein Innovation Award

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

RPB Stein Innovation Awards provide funds to two groups of researchers, both with a common goal of understanding the visual system and the diseases that compromise its function. These 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.

  • For the January deadline, department of ophthalmology faculty who are performing innovative vision research may submit an application.  For this review cycle, candidates may be from any institution of higher education in the U.S.
  • For the July deadline, scientists outside the department of ophthalmology who are actively engaged in innovative vision research may submit an application.  For this review cycle, candidates may be from any institution of higher education in the U.S.

For Spring 2024 (January deadline), the following Stein Innovation Awards will be available:

  • The RPB Stein Innovation Award in Ocular Genetics seeks to support basic and translational research that will advance the diagnosis of and testing for genetic eye diseases, as well as the development of treatments based on specific genetic mutations.
  • The RPB Stein Innovation Award will not have a specific focus and is open to any topic within vision research.  

The Stein Innovation Awards are not to serve as venture philanthropy for start-up companies.  The application should also not be a natural extension of the candidate's research progress to date; it should catalyze a new line of inquiry or otherwise show a departure from previously funded research.  The proposed research in the application should provide a clear and rational research plan, compelling preliminary data, and careful consideration of pitfalls, which should be addressed in the candidate's scientific statement.  Additionally, the application should be substantially different than an R01-type research endeavor.  The proposed research should be something that federal funders are not apt to finance due to its unconventional and novel reasoning. 

Department chairs (including interim or acting chairs) can nominate multiple candidates per department per school.  Though multiple candidates can be nominated, only one award per department can be approved.  Candidates in either cycle must be either MDs, PhDs, or MD/PhDs with an academic position of Associate Professor through full Professor. Candidates must provide not less than 5% effort for the proposed research.  The award, $300,000, is payable in two (2) payments, $150,000 per payment upon approval of a 14-month substantive progress report.

The spring cycle application deadline for the Stein Innovation Award is January 10, with nomination forms due no later than December 15. The fall cycle application deadline is July 1, with nomination forms due no later than June 15.  Applications received without a prior nomination form will not be accepted.  (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 this award are available below.

RPB Stein Innovation Award Nomination Form

RPB Stein Innovation Award Application Form

RPB Stein Innovation Award Guidelines / Instructions


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