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Research to Prevent Blindness

RPB and AAO Announce New Grant Opportunities to Support Vision Research

On November 12, Research to Prevent Blindness and the American Academy of Ophthalmology announced that they have created a new category of grant to support researchers who want to use the Academy’s IRIS® Registry database to conduct population-based studies in ophthalmology and blindness prevention. The grants will help clinical researchers leverage this unique, growing resource for the advancement of patient care.

At the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) Annual Meeting, William L Rich III, MD, FACS, Medical Director of Health Policy and Chair of the IRIS Registry for AAO (far left), kicks off the press conference for the announcement of the new grant from RPB and AAO.

The Research to Prevent Blindness/American Academy of Ophthalmology Award for IRIS Registry Research will fund six studies over two years. Each grant of $35,000 will allow recipients to learn how to use the IRIS Registry’s analytic capabilities. The IRIS Registry is now the world’s largest specialty clinical database, having amassed data on 41.2 million patients. A subset of this massive database will be provided to recipients for analysis based on their study. Researchers will be required to submit their results for peer-reviewed publication no later than six months after analyses are performed.

“In a short amount of time, the IRIS Registry has become a sought-after tool for data analytics, producing insights into real-world practice patterns and clinical outcomes,” said David W. Parke II, MD, CEO for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. “The next step is to develop opportunities for engaging clinical researchers to analyze this unique, growing resource to reveal patterns of disease, their determinants, and approaches to prevention and treatment that advance the ophthalmic profession to the benefit of our patients – present and future.”

This award is open to individual researchers in ophthalmology, population health, epidemiology, and related fields at academic institutions, who are interested in vision research at a population level. The research question should be original and advance the Academy’s mission to protect sight and empower lives. Applicants must have relevant analytics experience, such as a background in statistics or experience with big-data analytics.

The IRIS Registry Analytics Committee will review applications and select a slate of  top-ranked nominees for RPB’s esteemed Scientific Advisory Panel to review and select the final awardees. Selected investigators will be notified in July 2018. Researchers will begin their investigations shortly thereafter.

“We are thrilled to partner with the American Academy of Ophthalmology on this novel award, which gives researchers the power of big data to answer important questions about vision at the population level,” said Brian F. Hofland, PhD, President of Research to Prevent Blindness. “RPB catalyzes innovation by supporting excellent research and the IRIS Registry’s unique data offers a powerful resource to conduct new, important, and impactful vision research.”

The application process for the first round of three grants closes on Jan. 31, 2018. Applications are available online. Three additional grants will be awarded in 2019. 

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