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Grants to USA Researchers at IHEs for Research on Chronic Vision Impairment


Intent to Apply Date


Application Deadline

01/10/23 11:59 PM ET - Electronic Receipt

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RPB / Lions Clubs International Foundation Low Vision Research Award (LVRA)

Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB)

Agency: Foundation

GrantWatch ID #183384

Grant Description

Grants to USA researchers affiliated with IHEs for research on chronic vision impairment. Applicants must be nominated by their department chairs before applying. Funding is intended for a range of innovative research exploring damaged visual systems and the brain's response to severe and chronic visual loss.

Low vision is a substantial and chronic loss of visual ability, not correctable by eyeglasses, contact lenses, medicines, or surgery and includes degradation of central vision, peripheral vision and sometimes both. Low vision significantly and negatively impacts a person’s visual activities of daily living and quality of life. Many eye diseases can lead to degradation of vision including age-related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, as well as central visual system disorders including optic nerve degeneration, stroke, and traumatic brain injury.

The RPB / LCIF Award focuses on the visual system that is damaged, and seeks greater understanding of how the visual system and brain respond to severe and chronic visual loss by answering such questions as:

  • What is the nature of the visual impairment; what aspects of visual function are affected?
  • How is the degraded input processed? What are the adaptive strategies in the visual pathway in response to visual impairment?
  • How does the brain re-organize itself with visual damage?
  • What novel environmental adaptations and technologies can be used to help affected individuals overcome the visual impairments? How, for instance, can the visibility of objects be enhanced?

The LVRA is intended to provide seed funding for high-risk / high-gain, innovative, cutting-edge research which demonstrates out-of-the-box thinking.  RPB strongly encourages interdisciplinary collaboration within the scope of the proposed research.  The purpose of this award is to serve as a catalyst to specific lines / kinds of research not currently happening.

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  • Others (see text field entitled "Additional Eligibility Criteria" for clarification)

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

This award is available to researchers from any institution of higher education in the U.S. currently holding a primary academic position as Assistant Professor through full Professor. Candidates must provide not less than 5% effort for the proposed research.

- Full-time department Chairs from any institution of higher education in the U.S. can nominate one candidate per department. Interim or acting Chairs cannot nominate a candidate for this award.
- Candidates must hold a primary academic position as Assistant Professor through full Professor. Candidates must be full-time faculty in their primary appointment department by the application deadline. We particularly encourage applications from relevant departments/disciplines such as Neuroscience, Psychology, Engineering, Computer Science, Optometry, and others. Previous recipients of this grant are ineligible. Ophthalmology Chairs are not eligible for this award.
- Candidates must provide not less than 5% effort for the proposed research. Greater percent of effort is highly desirable.
- The proposed research cannot be funded – previously or currently – by NEI, NIH, or other federal funders, although modest initial funding by private funders/foundations is acceptable.

The LVRA will not fund evaluations of existing interventions and educational programs; epidemiological or demographic studies; or Phase III trials. Intervention development, proof of concept studies, and feasibility studies are eligible assuming the research proposal addresses one or more of the questions noted above. Phase II trials are eligible if the applicant clearly demonstrates that the LVRA budget covers the cost of the Phase II trial; or if not, the applicant needs to explain how he/she proposes to secure additional funding. The proposed research cannot be funded – previously or currently – by the NEI, NIH, or other federal funders, although modest initial funding by private funders / foundations is acceptable.

Pre-Application Information:

Nomination: December 15, 2022
Application: January 10, 2023 (awarded in June)
*If the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline is the following business day

Nomination Form: Nomination forms are a requirement. For the January 10 application deadline, nomination forms are due no later than December 15. Applications received without a prior nomination form will not be accepted.

Application upload must be received no later than 11:59pm ET on the deadline date.

Additional Funding Information:

Estimated Size of Grant:

$300,000 award payable in two installments of $150,000 a payment with the second payment contingent upon approval of a 14-month substantive progress report.

Term of Contract:

Awardees will be required to expend the award within three (3) years if granted the full $300,000. Otherwise, the awardee is required to expend the initial $150,000 award payment within two (2) years.

Contact Information:

Log in to upload the application at

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

Email nomination forms to Pattie Moran at the address above.

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