ARVO Foundation

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Message from the chair
J. Mark Petrash, PhD, FARVO

Research without borders

One of the goals of the ARVO Foundation for Eye Research is to support the education and training of vision scientists worldwide. The Developing Country Eye Research Travel Fellowship program (DCERF), administered by the ARVO Foundation, supports trainees from underserved countries to participate in the ARVO Annual Meeting.

In the program’s 10-year history, 114 trainees from 44 countries have made their way to the ARVO Annual Meeting to learn, network and grow their skills to benefit the research infrastructure in their home countries.

The DCERF program is more than just a travel grant. Fellows are matched with mentors from the ARVO membership who can guide them through the experience of the Annual Meeting and introduce them to leaders in the field. These partnerships often serve as starting points for collaborations and long-lasting friendships.

Through the DCERF program, we are seeing that international boundaries are dissolving to make way for an emerging global community of vision scientists. Today, more than ever before, it is important for us to encourage and support international collaboration so that advances in eye research can be appreciated and leveraged by the world community of scientists. DCERF trainees are a key conduit through which information and networking can spread the good news of research to vision scientists and patients everywhere.

What can you do to encourage research without borders?

  • Apply now. Encourage a promising trainee in a developing country to apply for the program. Applications are open through Dec. 1.

  • Donate. Be generous in your financial support of the DCERF program. It costs $4,500 to support each trainee in the program. This year, the ARVO Foundation had funding to support nine trainees. Keeping in mind that we had a high of 18 trainees in 2009, we need to recommit in our efforts to keep the doors open to global trainees. Remember, they are our next generation of leaders.

  • Contact the ARVO Foundation. Universities can support a fellow by taking advantage of our matching grant program. The Foundation will partner with any university by contributing one-half the cost of one fellowship.

The generosity of our recent DCERF funders, including Ophthotech, the Alcon Foundation, Alcon South Africa, WEAVR, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Colorado, and Wayne State University, has made it possible to support the ARVO experience for trainees from India, Malawi, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia, Argentina, Ghana, Egypt, Sierra Leone and beyond.

With improved transportation and ways to communicate, it has become so much easier to find ways to collaborate and share ideas. We have a chance to pave the way for trainees to make the journey to the ARVO Annual Meeting to meet their peers and learn about the advances in eye and vision research. I hope you will join me in contributing  to the Foundation to support the DCERF program and help to stimulate research without borders.

Visit arvofoundation.org for more information.

Research without borders

"Today, more than ever before, it is important for us to encourage and support international collaboration so that advances in eye research can be appreciated and leveraged by the world community of scientists." ARVO Foundation Chair J. Mark Petrash, PhD, FARVO

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