DCERF eligibility, application process


DCERF eligibility, application process


The 2024 DCERF application period is currently closed. Applications open annually from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31.

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
  • 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
Career Stage

Candidates in any of the following categories are eligible to apply:

  • Researchers with an MD, PhD, OD or equivalent professional degree
  • Trainees in one of the fields of interest below who are interested in pursuing a career as a researcher or clinician-scientist
  • Graduate students, in an applicable scientific field, with an interest in a research career
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/Nonmembers

ARVO Members and nonmembers 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, summary of internet access/capabilities, a personal statement, research interests, one letter of support and CV.

Using the online application, the ARVO Foundation will select DCERF recipients based on their qualifications and the available funding. Winners will be notified by mid-December.

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 program calls.
  • 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.
Costs and Reimbursement

DCERF recipients are eligible to have the following costs covered up to the maximum award amount:

  • Round trip flight to the ARVO Annual Meeting
  • Hotel accommodation
  • Meal stipend
  • Annual Meeting registration
  • One year of ARVO membership
  • Support of an Annual Meeting mentor and the DCERF alumni community