Research to Prevent Blindness and Allergan Foundation Announce New Partnership to Support Early-Career Vision Researchers

The organizations announce new grants to increase funding for innovative research from early-career vision scientists.

NEW YORK, NY, May 5, 2020—Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) and the Allergan Foundation have undertaken a partnership to support early-career vision researchers with the launch of a new award aimed at assistant professors, as well as co-sponsorship of grants for medical students seeking research experiences.

“At RPB, we are immensely proud of providing many decades of support for early-career researchers, which has allowed our grantees to produce critical research results and launch productive careers as independent investigators,” said RPB President Brian F. Hofland, PhD. “This partnership with the Allergan Foundation will allow us to increase our funding to early-career researchers across multiple grants, which represents a significant addition to the funding opportunities available to these scientists in today’s competitive funding environment.”

Announcing the Career Advancement Award
RPB is proud to announce the creation of the Career Advancement Award (CAA). The Award is aimed at early- to mid-career vision researchers who have already received their first independent federal grant—the National Institutes of Health (NIH) RO1—and are collecting new data to apply for a second RO1. This time period has been identified by RPB’s Scientific Advisory Panel as a critical gap in the funding pipeline; filling this gap is important for both the field of vision research at large and for advancing the research and careers of individual vision scientists.

RPB is partnering with the Allergan Foundation to co-fund the RPB/Allergan Foundation Career Advancement Award, which will support one grant in 2020 and two grants in 2021. RPB will also offer the RPB Career Advancement Award, which is funded solely by RPB and will support one grant in 2020. All CAA grants will be worth $150,000 each, distributed as a one-time payment per awardee.
The RPB/Allergan Foundation Career Advancement Award is open to any researcher at any academic medical center. The RPB Career Advancement Award is available to any researcher in an RPB-supported department of ophthalmology. Guidelines for all 2020 CAAs are available immediately on RPB’s grant webpage; nomination forms are due June 15 and applications are due July 1. RPB will manage the grant administration process for all awards, using its well-established processes for grant solicitation, grant review and financial management of grants.

Funding Medical Student Fellowships
RPB and the Allergan Foundation are partnering on a second endeavor aimed at supporting researchers in the earliest stages of their careers in vision science: RPB/Allergan Foundation Medical Student Eye Research Fellowships. These Fellowships are designed to allow gifted students to take a year off from medical school to devote time to the pursuit of a research project within an RPB-supported department of ophthalmology. The research experiences will take place prior to the third or fourth year of medical school and will be funded for one year with a $30,000 grant per recipient that will help to cover the cost of research activities.

The organizations will co-fund two Fellowships in 2020 and one in 2021. The first Fellow will be announced in June 2020.

Investing in the Future
“The results of these changes to our grants program will be both immediate and long-term,” said Dr. Hofland. “By pooling resources, RPB and the Allergan Foundation will support the early careers of vision scientists, increase the knowledge base of the vision research field through their work, and ultimately contribute to treatments that help people maintain and even regain sight.”
“We are thrilled to count RPB as an organizational partner and to kick-off our relationship with these impactful grants,” said Gwyn Grenrock, Executive Director of the Allergan Foundation. “We look forward to seeing the results of these important investments in early-career vision researchers.”

For more information on the RPB grants program, click here.

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About Research to Prevent Blindness
The mission of Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) is to preserve and restore vision by supporting research to develop treatments, preventives and cures for all conditions that damage and destroy sight. Since it was founded 60 years ago, in 1960, RPB has channeled more than $373 million into eye research. As a result, RPB has been identified with nearly every major breakthrough in vision research in that time.

About Allergan Foundation
The Allergan Foundation is a U.S.-based, private charitable foundation committed to making a bold, positive, and lasting impact in the communities in which Allergan, plc. employees work and live. The Allergan Foundation is particularly focused on supporting programs that improve the health and well-being of our communities, including better patient diagnosis, treatment, care and quality of life, especially for those patients who are most in need. The Allergan Foundation was established in 1998.

Allergan plc (NYSE: AGN) is a bold, global pharmaceutical company focused on developing, manufacturing and commercializing branded pharmaceutical, device, biologic, surgical and regenerative medicine products for patients around the world. Allergan markets a portfolio of leading brands and best-in-class products primarily focused on four key therapeutic areas including medical aesthetics, eye care, central nervous system, mental health and gastroenterology.


Media contact:

Diana Friedman
Director, External Affairs
Research to Prevent Blindness; 631-838-4985