Through partnerships and collaborations with organizations in the vision research field, RPB leverages its resources, accelerates the development of treatments for eye diseases, and extends its capacity to fulfill its mission to prevent blindness and restore sight. As a catalyst for eye research, RPB also convenes major supporters of vision research in an effort to create a network for the further development of partnerships throughout the vision research community.
We have all been pulling in the same direction, but there is an opportunity for us to pull together more strategically and effectively.
Brian F. Hofland, PhD
AEVR's mission is to ensure the best eye and vision care for all Americans through education of congressional legislators, government policymakers, coalition partners, the media and consumers about the value of eye and vision research. It seeks to raise public awareness of eye disorders and advocates for the support of national eye research funding, particularly for the National Eye Institute (which RPB helped found in 1968). RPB's $50,000 grant is intended to support AEVR's programs including Congressional briefings, educational brochures and national attitudinal surveys.
RPB maintains a decades-long partnership with AUPO, an organization that RPB helped found in 1967 and a key ally in RPB's commitment to enrich the development of the Chairs, Directors of Research, and other leaders from departments of ophthalmology in whom RPB invests through its Unrestricted Grant Program. RPB's annual $125,000 grant to AUPO provides support for AUPO's research and training programs. In 2016, RPB and AUPO jointly annouced the creation of the RPB David F. Weeks Award for Outstanding AMD Research, estabilshed through RPB, AUPO, and a private donor. Learn more here.
RPB's $30,000 two-year grant supports increased participation in the Heed Ophthalmic Foundation Residents Retreat, a professional development experience for talented ophthalmology residents, designed to encourage pursuing a career in academic ophthalmology.
In 2014, the RPB/International Retinal Research Foundation Catalyst Awards for Stem Cell Research Approaches for Age-Related Macular Degeneration ("Catalyst Awards") were launched. The awards were made possible by a donation from an anonymous donor, which was matched by the IRRF and by a bequest from the Sybil B. Harrington estate, making possible three grants at $250,000 each over four years. In 2017, RPB and IRRF again partnered to launch the RPB/IRRF Catalyst Award for Innovative Research Approaches for Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), which provides funds to researchers who are working on novel approaches to AMD.
In partnership with the EyeSight Foundation of Alabama and private donors Susan and Dowd Ritter, RPB established the $3.75 million Research to Prevent Blindness/Susan and Dowd Ritter Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology Research, one of the largest endowed chairs in the history of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Ophthalmology. The endowment will enable the department to recruit a world-class scientist to join its existing roster of international experts in the study of blinding diseases.
As part of an initiative to meet unmet needs for those with low vision, RPB has established a two-tiered Low Vision Research Award. The first tier, in partnership with RDPFS, is an Innovations in Technology Low Vision Research Award. This grant focuses on assistive device innovations for people who are not completely blind and have some remaining functional vision. Emphasis is placed on interdisciplinary collaborations that bring together technical expertise coupled with real-life experience with persons with low vision.
As part of an initiative to meet unmet needs for those with low vision, RPB has established a two-tiered Low Vision Research Award. The second tier, in partnership with LCIF, is a Basic Science Low Vision Research Award. This grant focuses on visual system damage and on brain plasticity. Learn more here.
A National Eye Institute study made note of the fact that RPB was the second most frequently cited funder of international collaborations. To formalize support for this trend, the RPB/Stavros Niarchos Foundation International Research Collaborators Award, a multi-year funding partnership with one of the world's leading private international philanthropic organizations, builds and strengthens international collaborations through which researchers in the U.S. and outside the U.S. gain new knowledge and skills in exchanges to advance excellent vision science.
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation makes grants in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and sports, and social welfare, funding organizations and projects that are expected to achieve a broad, lasting and positive impact for society at large, focusing on vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly.
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