ARVO Foundation Research Catalyst Awards

The ARVO Foundation Research Catalyst Awards are intended for investigators beginning their careers or returning to the workforce after an extended leave. The goal of this award is to support an initial research project for an investigator with a superb research idea. The award was established in 2023 and is generously funded by the ARVO Foundation.

Two research awards of $30,000 each will be granted to:

  • a recipient within the United States
  • a recipient outside the United States

Research projects must be completed within two years.

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Specific eligibility criteria include:

  • Applicant must be either, (A) an investigator within the first three years of their primary academic appointment, or (B) an investigator who is returning to the workforce after at least a year away from an active research career.
  • Applicant must identify a mentor or senior colleague that will be involved in the project to ensure a level of success.
  • Applicant must not have an active NIH R-series grant or equivalent.
  • Applicants may only submit one application per cycle. Award recipients must wait three years to apply with a new proposal. Unsuccessful applicants may reapply in the next cycle.
  • ARVO and ARVO Foundation Officers, Board members and ARVO Foundation Awards Committee members are not eligible to apply for or be nominated for an award nor may they supply letters of support during their terms.
Application process

Applications are accepted via online application. The online form must be completed by the applicant. The online application requires the following information, forms and documents:

  • Applicant Information: Complete all required fields. Please include a biosketch when applying.

  • Mentor Information: Enter information on the mentor you will be consulting with on this project.

  • Project Information:

    • Title of Project

    • Goal: Statement of expected project outcome(s); include a statement of how results could lead to clinical impacts and/or subsequent research funding.

    • Project significance
    • Design/methodology
    • Research Capacity Assessment: Include a statement that you will have permission from the institution(s) to allot the required time and resources to execute the project.
    • Project Timeline: The project period must commence within six months of notification of the award and be completed within two years of the start date.
    • Budget: an itemized budget must be included. Awarded funds may not be used for institutional overhead or administrative fees.
  • Explain how you will use any existing infrastructure available to you to ensure the project will succeed.
  • Describe your relationship with the identified mentor or senior colleague. What involvement will that person have in the project and/or your development?
  • Two letters of recommendation: one from within institution; one external (either may be from the identified mentor/colleague)
  • Letter from institution that it will accept funds for use as described in criteria, that the institution is tax-exempt, and agrees not to apply or withhold administrative or indirect fees.

Review and selection process

Applications are reviewed by the ARVO Foundation Awards Committee comprised of internationally recognized experts. The deliberations of the Foundation Awards Committee are confidential and their decision is final.


Applications open on Aug. 1

Applications close on Oct. 1 (11:59pm U.S. Eastern time)

Recipients notified in December