Eligibility and application process

Applications are now closed

Eligibility and application process

Interested candidates who meet all eligibility requirements are invited to apply for the 2019 DCERF awards during the application period from Sept. 1 to Dec. 1 using the online application. Winners will be notified by the end of January.

Applications are now closed.

Eligibility guidelines
Eligible candidates will meet the following criteria:


  • Must be a citizen of a developing country as defined by the most recent World Bank income classifications; low, lower-middle and upper-middle income economies qualify
    • Please note that applicants from Argentina, Croatia and Panama are no longer eligible to apply following changes to the income classifications that took effect on July 1, 2018
  • Must have either an MD or PhD or equivalent professional degree
    • Graduate students in scientific areas with an interest in entering basic vision research or residents in ophthalmology who are interested in academic careers as clinician-scientists 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

Field of Interest
Can be interested in any area of eye and vision research, whether basic or clinical research, epidemiology, public health, infectious diseases, genetics or a particular subspecialty

Level of Research Expertise
The goal of the DCERF program is to strengthen the research capacity of recipients' countries by bringing back information from the Annual Meeting.

  • For candidates from countries with developed research infrastructure:
    • Must be in a position to share the knowledge gained at the meetings with colleagues upon return including potential funding opportunities, links to collaborators and instructors, and to share the latest information on good research practices
  • For candidates from countries without sophisticated research programs in place:
    • Must be in a position to help establish and acquire the basic elements necessary for initiating understanding of carrying out research protocols, preparation of abstracts, and production of manuscripts

ARVO Members/Non-members

ARVO Members and non-members are eligible. The candidate is not required to submit an abstract to the ARVO Annual Meeting, though it is encouraged for the experience.

Prior ARVO Annual Meeting Attendance
The candidate cannot have attended an ARVO Annual Meeting in the past.

Language Skills
The candidate should have a sufficient command of English in order to participate in the scientific program.

The Developing Country Eye Researcher Travel Fellowship recipients are selected by the ARVO Foundation based on the established guidelines.

Application requirements
Candidates must complete a brief online application to collect their contact information, a personal statement, research interests, one letter of support and CV no later than December 1.

Candidates must be nominated with one letter of support by any of the following:

  • A national society or research institute
  • A member of the International Chapter Affiliates Program
  • An ARVO member
  • A DCERF supporter (sponsor)
  • Local/regional conference selection or awardees (the awarding entity must provide the letter of support)

Using the letter of support and the online application, the ARVO Foundation will select DCERF recipients based on their qualifications and the available funding. Winners will be notified by the end of January.

Requirements of Recipients
DCERF recipients are expected to do the following: 

  • Recipients are not required to submit an abstract or present at the Annual Meeting.
  • Recipients are expected to participate in all invited events, including the welcome and closing breakfasts, travel grant recipient reception, and WEAVR Luncheon.
  • Recipients are required to submit a letter of thanks and a brief report of their experience to the ARVO Foundation that can be shared with award funders.
  • Recipients are responsible for securing the necessary documents to travel internationally, including obtaining a travel visa, by the deadlines provided. 

Costs and Reimbursement

DCERF recipients are eligible to have the following costs covered up to the maximum award amount (currently $4,500 USD): 

  • Airfare: Recipients will coordinate the purchase of their airfare directly with ARVO's travel agent. ARVO will support the cost of one round-trip economy class ticket from the recipient's origin to the Annual Meeting city plus the cost of one checked bag.
  • Hotel: Hotel rooms will be coordinated directly by ARVO in the ARVO room block. This amount will be deducted from the total award.
  • Per Diem: Recipients will receive a per diem of $70 per day for each day of the Annual Meeting (maximum of 6 days).
  • Annual Membership: One year of complimentary ARVO membership is provided
  • Annual Meeting Registration: Complimentary membership to the ARVO Annual Meeting is provided.
  • Special events: Recipients are provided complimentary tickets to select social events at the ARVO Annual Meeting.
  • Reimbursements: If program funds remain, recipients may be eligible to seek reimbursement for visa costs, including direct expenses and travel to/from the consulate, and ground transportation to/from the airport. Recipients should retain all receipts related to these costs and recipients will be advised if sufficient funds remain to seek these reimbursements.