John Lee Primer Fellowship

Fight for Sight's mission is to stop sight loss by funding the highest quality medical research and we are proud to collaborate with the Royal College of Ophthalmologists to help achieve this goal. The John Lee Primer Fellowship is designed to support early stage ophthalmologists to undertake ground-breaking vision research and represents the first step for ophthalmologists to obtain a PhD. Successful applicants are provided with experience and exposure to a research environment in order to increase their competitiveness for the MRC Clinical Research Training Fellowships and other clinical research opportunities.

Primer Fellowships are prestigious awards, made on a fully competitive and peer reviewed basis. The call follows a one stage application process and shortlisted applicants are required to attend an interview as part of the final assessment. For more details of the assessment process please visit our grant making process.


One fellowship will be offered to support a trainee ophthalmologist, who is a member of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, to undertake ophthalmic and vision research. The fellowship offers £60,000, jointly supported by Fight for Sight and the College. The award is tenable for one year.

Applications must be made and submitted by the intended recipient of the fellowship. It is expected that applications will be submitted in close collaboration with a research Mentor. Fellowships are primarily assessed according to the quality of the applicant and research project. 


Applicants are invited to undertake medical research that aims to;
  • Increase our understanding of how eye diseases and conditions start and develop
  • Prevent eye diseases and conditions occurring
  • Enable eye diseases and conditions to be detected earlier
  • Develop new and improved treatments for eye diseases and conditions


  • Applicants must be affiliated with UK academic or medical institutions but the research can be undertaken in the UK and/or overseas.
  • Applicants must be a member of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists
  • Fight for Sight will not normally agree to more than eight hours each week spent in routine clinical duties, except when additional clinical time is essential to the research project, or essential to the minimum requirements for the maintenance of clinical skills in the candidate’s speciality.
  • Mentors must have a contract which extends beyond the termination date of the award.

Financial support and duration

  • Grant of up to £60,000 for one year
  • Includes the costs of 
    • salary for the successful applicant
    • consumables
    • equipment essential for the project
    • other expenses (including travel)
    • open access publication costs
  • Excludes indirect costs and any other non-attributable overhead costs.


The deadline for applications was 5pm on Thursday 7 November 2019. Interviews will take place on Tuesday 4 February 2020. Successful applicants will be notified in March 2020 with the fellowship expected to start in October 2020.

Contact us

For any queries relating to your proposal please contact Fight for Sight at

Application must be submitted via our online Grants Management system 
Late applications will not be considered.

Guidelines for Applicants ,
Terms and Conditions


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