Research to Prevent Blindness

Grants Overview

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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

Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) has provided over $407 million in vision research grants since its founding in 1960, leading to countless sight-saving discoveries. RPB funding focuses on scientifically excellent research, which undergoes rigorous review prior to funding. As a result, RPB is associated with more than 2,000 new scientific studies published in peer-reviewed journals per year, making our impact on vision research and eye care vast.

How do RPB grants work?

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 institution of higher education in the U.S.   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 Grant (UG) or Challenge Grant (CG) in order to apply for individual grants and for most of our individual awards, only permanent, full-time department chairs are eligible to apply for any RPB grants. 

Dr. Marjan Farid

Marjan Farid, MD, of the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, works toward the development of a novel artificial cornea. 

At many research institutions, RPB's support creates a multiplier effect. Unrestricted departmental grants can be used to augment a variety of critical research endeavors, including bridge funding for individual researchers, the purchase of a high-tech piece of equipment that will enable new scientific techniques, and statistical support to analyze large volumes of data. At the same time, the flexibility of an RPB individual grant allows a researcher to generate important data that will add to the body of knowledge in vision science, while paving the way for larger government grants or 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 two times a year, January 10 and July 1, for the grant categories stated below. Application and nomination forms for RPB individual awards available for the current review cycle can be found on this site; application forms for the RPB Unrestricted Grant or Challenge Grant must be requested from Pattie Moran, RPB's Director of Grants Administration. In some cases, departments of ophthalmology must have an RPB Unrestricted Grant (UG) or Challenge Grant (CG) in order to apply for individual grants.  For most of our individual awards, only permanent, full-time department chairs are eligible to nominate candidates. In most cases, chairs may nominate only one candidate per grant category per cycle.  Nomination forms are required for all individual awards.  For the January 10 deadline, 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 and research directors and other eminent vision researchers, 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 prior to the submission of an UG or CG application (contact Pattie Moran at 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 UG or CG application is rejected, in some cases, the individual grant application will be ineligible.

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 Advancement Q R
Career Development # R R
Catalyst / AMD Q R
Disney / Amblyopia R Q
Int'l Research Collaborators


Low Vision Research  R Q
Med Student Fellowship # R R
Physician Scientist # Q R
Stein Innovation** R


Unrestricted/Challenge R R

*  If January 10 or July 1 fall 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 researcher 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 Director of Grants Administration, Pattie Moran, at 646-892-9566 or if you have any questions regarding the RPB Grants Program.


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