ARVO 2019-2023 Strategic Plan


Executive Summary

The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) has developed a strategic plan for implementation in years 2019-2023. The strategic plan provides priority areas of focus for ARVO’s Board of Trustees, committees, staff, members and other stakeholders during this four-year period.

The following describes ARVO’s mission, vision and updated strategic goals as well as strategies for years 2019-2023. Additional information about the plan’s development process may be found in the Appendices.

Mission statement:

During the development of ARVO’s previous strategic plan, leadership made the decision to combine ARVO’s mission and vision statement:

    • ARVO advances research worldwide in understanding the visual system and preventing, treating and curing its disorders.

This statement holds strong today in describing the commitment of ARVO’s leadership in ensuring a future which includes collaborative, impactful, highest-quality eye and vision research.

Pillars of the Strategic Plan

Pillar 1: Innovative Collaborative Research

Goal: Facilitate and foster the highest quality vision research, and its translation from discovery to therapeutic intervention


a. Enhance cross-disciplinary interaction during our annual meeting and within ARVO
b. Increase member exposure to translational clinicians, scientists and industry partners
c. Foster the integration of the latest research technology, techniques, and approaches into our annual meeting and vision research, such as data science.

Areas to consider when carrying out objectives:

    • Evaluate organizational and governance structure and how to best reflect contemporary needs of eye and vision research
    • Provide opportunities for cross-disciplinary dialogue 
    • Increase and nurture partnership interactions with industry
    • Lead interdisciplinary dialogue in the science of Big Science, defining and addressing related opportunities such as contributor incentives and creative funding development
Pillar 2: Researcher Development and Support

Goal: Foster the cultivation, training and recruitment of clinicians and scientists to perform high-quality eye and vision research and develop intentional programmatic support of them to lead productive and satisfying careers.


a. Channel talented young investigators into eye and vision science
b. Foster sustainable investigator career success, advancement and reentry opportunities through lifelong mentorship, education and resource initiatives
c. Foster and promote scientific standards and conduct worldwide

Areas to consider when carrying out objectives:

    • Expand offerings of high-quality information on advances in eye and vision research globally via multiple channels (face-to-face, digital and distance learning)
    • Expand educational, career development and inclusive peer-based mentoring opportunities addressing required competencies and career paths
    • Explore the development of a global certification on researcher best practices and scientific professionalism
    • Expand regional society awards and recognition opportunities to cultivate local investigator development
    • Package popular articles and sessions for distribution via global chapters
    • Expand programs, products and services providing direct support to eye and vision researchers
    • Expand mentorship program reach at all levels of career development including re-entry.
Pillar 3: Advocacy and Funding

Goal: Advocate for the importance of eye and vision research to society by articulating important accomplishments and their impact, and the return on investment.


a. Educate global and national policy leaders on the value of eye and vision research to all societies.
b. Educate and provide resources to the eye and vision research community to become effective advocates for their profession.
c. Identify, engage and enhance funding sources to advance eye and vision research.

Areas to consider when carrying out objectives:

    • Increase public awareness of the value of eye and vision research through the promotion of novel and noteworthy research
    • Educate policy leaders on the wide-ranging and quantifiable impact of investment in eye and vision research
    • Prepare individual investigators to advocate successfully for eye and vision research funding
    • Increase interactions and collaborations with industry in support of eye and vision research
    • Increase engagement and partnerships with patient advocacy and community organizations to build private philanthropy and public support for eye and vision research
    • Position ARVO as “the” trustworthy source for exemplary and innovative eye and vision research with communication through multiple channels 




The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) is the largest and most respected eye and vision research organization in the world. Our members include nearly 12,000 eye and vision researchers from over 75 countries. Membership interests are multidisciplinary and consist of both clinical and basic researchers. Approximately 29% of the membership are medical doctors, 27% are basic scientist PhD’s, and 35% are doctors of optometry, doctors of osteopathy and veterinarian doctors.

To continue improving the organization’s effectiveness, volunteer leadership and executive staff decided to implement a member-informed and metric-driven strategic planning process incorporating survey data from regular and member-in-training members, lapsed members, volunteer leaders and other stakeholders.


Plan Development Process

The strategic plan development process included two goals:

    1. Develop strategic goals of the association, given the diverse needs of eye and vision researchers around the globe, identified through the member/lapsed member survey findings.
    2. Develop objectives to guide ARVO to achieve these goals.

The process included the review and discussion of four key areas:

    1. ARVO’s community – Who are the members of the global eye and vision research community? How is this community different from the needs of other eye and vision related communities?
    2. What does the future look like – What is the likely future environment within which eye and vision researchers will live and work, and how can ARVO prepare to meet anticipated needs?
    3. ARVO’s role – With the focus on our mission, what is our strategic role in serving the eye and vision research community?
    4. How do we get there – What objectives will guide us as we move forward?

This process began through the collection of data on these areas obtained through qualitative and quantitative research surveys from nearly 1,200 members, recently lapsed members, volunteer leaders and other stakeholders from around the globe.

From May 4–5, 2018, ARVO convened a meeting of approximately 25 members plus executive staff to discuss the research survey findings and develop recommendations for an ARVO four-year strategic plan. The final recommendations of the strategic planning group will be shared with the general membership for comment prior to final review and approval by the ARVO Board.


Summary Rationale

Based on survey results and outcomes from the survey data and retreat, the following key factors provide the rationale for the plan outcomes:

    • Shifting demographics of the global eye and vision community
    • Need for intentional development of stronger foundations to support early career expectations for those interested in pursuing eye and vision research, and increased competition for research talent
    • Recognition of the need for increased interdisciplinary nature of scientific discovery
    • Changing research models, technologies, career paths, and needed competencies
    • Changing public/private funding sources, funding priorities, funder perceptions, and parameters of financial support for eye and vision research
    • Push for Big Science (which requires diversified, large-scale funding), and the translation of new discoveries into scientific and clinical applications
    • Need for policymaker awareness in support of eye and vision research to include educating the eye and vision community how to be advocates to influence funding. Greater importance of showing the impact of research on public and economic health.
    • Need for stronger member awareness and understanding of regulatory parameters for science and research globally, regionally, and nationally. Development of member advocates to work to more favorably influence such regulatory parameters.



ARVO’s 2019-2022 strategic plan was constructed to support its mission of advancing research worldwide into understanding the visual system and preventing, treating and curing its disorders. Through the defined goals and objectives outlined in the plan, ARVO’s leadership and staff will utilize the plan as a blueprint to develop initiatives to meet the current and future needs of our members.