Developing Country Eye Researcher Travel Fellowships

The Developing Country Eye Researcher Travel Fellowship (DCERF) program brings aspiring scientists from developing nations to the ARVO Annual Meeting. The goal of the program is to provide young researchers with access to the latest in vision science while offering the opportunity to network with colleagues, mentors and thought leaders to develop an effective vision research program in their home countries. 

DCERF recipients are assigned to established ARVO members who serve as mentors during and after the Annual Meeting. A welcome breakfast is held to aid the recipients in navigating the Annual Meeting and gives them the opportunity to meet and network with others involved with this fellowship. A breakfast is also held on the final day of the Annual Meeting in order for recipients and mentors to share their experiences. 

The Fellowship began in 2008 and has since brought 106 researchers from 42 different countries to the ARVO Annual Meeting.

DCERF award includes*:

  • Airfare and hotel accommodations
  • Per diem
  • Annual Meeting registration
  • One year of ARVO membership
  • Annual Meeting mentor

Up to the maximum $4,500 per award

Download the program brochure

Eligibility Guidelines
Please see the Selection Criteria and Process for full eligibility criteria

  • Must be a citizen of a developing country as defined by the World Bank
  • Must have either an MD or PhD or equivalent professional degree; graduate students with an interest in entering basic vision research or residents in ophthalmology are also eligible
  • Must have a desire to pursue a career in teaching and research in vision and ophthalmology, whether clinical or basic, in their home countries
  • Cannot be studying or training outside of his/her home country at the time of his/her recommendation for the award; the candidate must be established in his/her home country and currently employed or practicing in a field related to eye and vision research
  • Cannot have attended an ARVO Annual Meeting in the past
  • Must have a sufficient command of English to participate in the scientific program

Application and Selection
Candidates must complete a brief online application including research interests, CV and one letter of support no later than December 1. Winners will be notified by mid-January. 

 2017 applications are now open.

Apply now

Please see the Selection Criteria and Process for additional details.

More information

Please contact Amanda Johnson, Foundation Manager at with questions or for more information.

Recent recipients

View the 2016 Developing Country Eye Researcher Travel Fellowships recipients.


Many thanks to the supporters of the Developing Country Eye Researcher Travel Fellowships for their continued support:

  • Alcon Foundation
  • Alcon South Africa
  • Ophthotech
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Wisconsin - Madison
  • Wayne State University - Kresge Eye Institute
  • Women in Eye and Vision Research (WEAVR)