Research to Prevent Blindness

Grants Overview

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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

Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) provides grants to high-performing U.S.-based departments of ophthalmology and their faculty and, through some of our awards, to high-potential vision researchers in any U.S. academic medical center.  There is an RPB grant category available to a scientist at any stage in his or her career -- from a medical student considering academic eye research to a seasoned investigator extending the frontiers of vision science. The unrestricted nature of RPB grants allows for the greatest flexibility in the pursuit of breakthrough discoveries.  

In some cases, departments of ophthalmology must have a Research to Prevent Blindness Unrestricted/Challenge Grant (U/C) Grant in order to apply for individual grants, and only permanent, full-time department chairs are eligible to apply for any RPB grants. 

RPB Medical Student Fellow Devang L. Bhoiwala, BS

RPB Medical Student Fellow Devang L. Bhoiwala, BS, University of Pennsylvania studies the contribution of excess iron to retinal degeneration in order to determine whether modification of dietary iron intake may be protective in patients with retinal disease.

At many research institutions, RPB's support creates a multiplier effect. Unrestricted departmental grants can be used to augment a variety of research endeavors, including bridge funding for individual researchers, equipment purchase, and statistical analysis support. At the same time, the flexibility of an RPB individual grant allows a researcher to generate data in order to acquire larger government grants, or, if he or she is already a government-supported investigator, to pursue additional, related research. The successes generated by these scenarios can attract donors to support university research and capital projects, further expanding capacity across the vision research community.

RPB Grant Cycles and GuidelineS Overview

RPB accepts grant applications three times a year, January 10, January 20, and July 1, for the grant categories stated below. Application forms must be requested by the department chair or the department's research grant administrator. In some cases, departments of ophthalmology must have an RPB Unrestricted/Challenge (U/C) Grant in order to apply for individual grants.  Only permanent, full-time department chairs are eligible to nominate candidates for any RPB grants. Chairs may nominate only one candidate per grant category per cycle.  Nomination forms are required for all individual awards.  For the January 10 and January 20 deadlines, nomination forms are due no later than December 15; for the July 1 deadline, nomination forms are due no later than June 15

Applications are evaluated via a three-tiered process. RPB Ad Hoc Committees, which are comprised of ophthalmology department chairs, conduct initial grant reviews and forward their recommendations to the standing RPB Scientific Advisory Panel for further evaluation. The Advisory Panel includes some of the nation's most distinguished scientists representing a broad range of scientific disciplines and interests. Their recommendations are presented to the RPB Board of Trustees for final approval.

New chairs should speak with RPB's President prior to the submission of an U/C application (contact Pattie Moran at to schedule the call). If a proposal for an Unrestricted or Challenge Grant is rejected, the chair must wait two years before reapplying, so RPB strongly encourages thorough preparation and planning before an application is submitted.

An ophthalmology department chair may also submit an individual grant application when applying for departmental support, but if the department's U/C application is rejected, the individual grant application will be ineligible. Chairs who apply for departmental support should indicate which grant – Unrestricted or Challenge – the department seeks. However, RPB reserves the right to decide which grant will be given to the department, if any.

All RPB grants must be credited to a separate account and remain free of institutional overhead; grantees are responsible for reporting and regular publicity updates. Once awarded, RPB support must be cited in every publication, all press releases and all media coverage of developments emanating from RPB grants.

Not all RPB grants are available throughout the year. Below is a timeline for applications:

 Grant Category SPRING CYCLE Deadline January 10 * FALL CYCLE Deadline July 1 *
Career Development # R R
Disney/Amblyopia R Q
Int'l Research Collaborators


Low Vision Research (January 20 deadline) R Q
Med Student Fellowship # R R
Physician Scientist # Q R
Special Scholar # R Q
Stein Innovation** R


Unrestricted/Challenge R R

*  If January 10, January 20, or July 1 falls on a weekend or holiday, consider the following business day the deadline. Decisions on January submissions are made by mid-June; July submissions by mid-December. Deadlines are not flexible. Materials received after the deadline render the submission incomplete. Incomplete submissions are not forwarded to RPB's review committees and are automatically declined.

**Researchers with primary appointments in ophthalmology apply in the Spring; all other vision researchers (those outside of the ophthalmology department) apply in the Fall.

# Indicates that the department of ophthalmology must have an RPB Unrestricted or Challenge Grant in order for an individual research to be nominated.

Grant Categories

One-Time Grants

There are currently no one-time grants being offered. Please check back for future opportunities.

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


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