Thank you for your interest in applying for a Fight for Sight grant. To date more than 3,000 women and men have received more than $20 million to support eye and vision research. Investigators working at more than 300 leading medical centers, universities and eye research institutes in the U.S., Canada and overseas have received Fight for Sight awards. Over the past 65 years, multiple generations of researchers and clinician-scientists have received Fight for Sight grants early in their careers and gone on to serve as mentors and guides to the next generation of Fight for Sight awardees. Our list of recipients includes many current and past leaders in academic ophthalmology and eye and vision research.
Our Grant-Making Philosophy
Fight for Sight was founded in 1946 by Mildred Weisenfeld, a young woman with retinitis pigmentosa, to encourage and fund research in ophthalmology, vision and related sciences. The goal of the Fight for Sight research program is to provide initial funding and support for beginning investigators interested in detection, understanding, prevention, treatment and cures of visual disorders especially those diseases leading to impaired sight or blindness.
Fight for Sight occupies a unique niche in the eye research foundation community – its primary mission is to support and encourage promising scientists early in their careers. We fund Summer Student Fellowships to undergraduate and graduate students, Post-Doctoral Awards to recently graduated Ph.D., M.D., Dr.PH, O.D.’s and Grants-in-Aid to investigators within the first three years of their faculty appointments.
Through its grant program, Fight for Sight seeks to promote the development of scientific skills and facilitate obtaining preliminary results necessary to successfully apply for more substantial additional federal or private funding such as that provided by the National Eye Institute or other divisions of the NIH. For many of our summer students and post-doctoral fellows, a Fight for Sight funded research project may be their first exposure to ophthalmology or eye research and our support often results in their choosing academic ophthalmology and/or eye and vision research as a career path. Indeed, for many young scientists, it can be the much-needed first step to a successful academic career devoted to seeking major advances in prevention, detection, treatment and cures for blindness and visual disability.
Scientific Review Committee (SRC)
The Fight for Sight Scientific Review Committee (SRC) is charged with evaluating each proposal with respect to 1.) qualifications and accomplishments of the applicant, 2.) scientific merit of the research proposal, 3.) clinical relevance of the project and 4.) resources, facilities and institutional support. Preference is generally given to disease oriented grants in the areas of age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataract, uveitis, corneal disease, amblyopia, strabismus or ocular genetic disorders although many other areas of ophthalmology and vision science have received funding over the past 65 years.
The SRC is composed of prominent research scientists, academicians and clinical researchers representing many disciplines in ophthalmology, vision and eye research. Many were themselves previous Fight for Sight awardees and/or now serve as mentors to the next generation of scientists. We strive to create a diverse group of reviewers, representing many of the best academic and clinical institutions across the country, to enable us to make awards to a broad spectrum of the best and the brightest young students and scientists. Our review system is modeled on the peer review methods utilized by the National Institutes of Health study sections, which evaluate and rank each application on a variety of scientific criteria. Once each year, the SRC meets in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) to review its findings in roundtable discussions among its members. The SRC is one of Fight for Sight’s greatest assets and we are extremely grateful for their assistance, dedication and hard work.
Once each grant is reviewed, scored and ranked, SRC findings are reviewed and recommendations for funding forwarded to the Fight for Sight Board of Directors for review. The advice and recommendations of the SRC provide the scientific basis for the final decisions regarding the number of grants awarded each fiscal year.