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Research to Prevent Blindness

RPB Convenes Eye Research Funders to Accelerate Treatments and Cures for Vision Loss

Dr. Paul Seiving, Director of the National Eye Institute, was also in attendance and emphasized the need for sustained, synergistic private and federal funding of eye research. He cited the arc of his own, ongoing research career and the extent of the financial support it had required over 30 years as being representative of the needs that federal and private funders are being called upon to provide.

March 24, 2015, Washington, DC -- Top execs from major eye research funding organizations convened in Washington, DC for a second time to advance an agenda for collaborative action in addressing key issues facing the vision research community.  Hosted by Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB), "Vision Research Funding Partnership II: From Concept to Reality" was designed to generate ideas and pathways for creative collaborations and partnerships among attending organizations, and to establish actionable items for the collaborative.

"We also wanted to facilitate general communication, networking, and sharing of info among vision research funders," said Brian F. Hofland, PhD, President of RPB. "The day was structured to help achieve these objectives, and we were successful on all fronts."

Presentations by noted speakers were followed by a specially structured networking opportunity and report outs by five working groups representing areas of consensus that had been identified at the first, historic meeting last September:

  • Advancing the Public Health Agenda
  • Encouraging Funder Partnership
  • Coordinating information
  • Coordinating and Supporting Advocacy
  • Supporting Interdisciplinary Research

By the end of the day, those areas of consensus had coalesced into action items for further development prior to the group's next meeting.

"We are on the verge of tremendous breakthroughs in our ability to prevent blindness and restore sight," said Hofland. "Federal funding of vision research far exceeds all private foundation support, combined.  Which is why this group of vision research funders established increasing federal funding of vision research through advocacy as a top priority for collective action. The other areas for collective action represent roles that vision research funders can assume, together, to accelerate discoveries efficiently. If we all play our parts, our missions will be accomplished."

The next day, in a series of Capitol Hill visits with Senators and members of Congress coordinated by the National Alliance of Eye and Vision Research, the conveners took action.

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