Small Grants


  1. Award
  2. Timeline
  3. Max funding / duration
  4. Success rates
  5. Eligibility
  6. Financial support
  7. Application process
  8. Review process
  9. Contact us


For applicants to collect preliminary/pilot data to make research ideas more competitive when developing larger, follow-on funding applications in vision research.

Fight for Sight / Vision Foundation is pleased to be collaborating with other funders and partners. Please note some partners have research priorities that applications will need to be in line with, in addition to the Fight for Sight / Vision Foundation research priorities (understanding, prevention, diagnosis or treatment). If applicable, these will be available on the application form.

Applications are being invited for the following:

Fight for Sight Small Grant
For research addressing sight loss caused by any eye disease or condition which are not addressed through one of the partnership awards below.

Fight for Sight / AZOOR Society Small Grant

For research addressing sight loss associated with Acute zonal occult outer retinopathy (AZOOR) to build understanding of the condition. Applications investigating the potential link between bacteria and the immune response in AZOOR are particularly encouraged.

Fight for Sight / BIOS Small Grant

For an orthoptist, with BIOS membership, to lead or carry out research in a topic which would increase the scientific evidence-base of relevance to orthoptic patients and the profession.

Applications can include but are not limited to: binocular vision and strabismus; orthoptic aspects of paediatric ophthalmology, neuro-ophthalmology, or vision science; orthoptic patient care; within-hospital or community orthoptic practice, or orthoptics in a multi-professional setting, or orthoptic service delivery and evaluation.

Fight for Sight / Birdshot Uveitis Society Small Grant

For research to support the understanding of or the clinical care of patients with Birdshot Uveitis.

Fight for Sight / Bowman Club Small Grant

For ophthalmologists undertaking research on the cornea and ocular surface diseases.

Fight for Sight / DEBRA Small Grant

For clinical or research scientists to support vision loss related research in Epidermolysis Bullosa which should be used to collect preliminary/pilot data to develop follow on applications.

Researchers currently working in fields outside of vision research are welcome to apply.

Fight for Sight / Glaucoma UK Small Grant

For research addressing sight loss associated with glaucoma.

Fight for Sight / Nystagmus Network Small Grant

For clinical research addressing visual impairment associated with nystagmus, focusing on quality of life or causes (including genetic), diagnostic testing/analysis or treatments.

Fight for Sight / Thyroid Eye Disease Charitable Trust Small Grant

For research addressing sight loss associated with thyroid eye disease.

Fight for Sight / Versus Arthritis Small Grant

For research addressing arthritis and visual impairment. This includes, but is not limited to Bechet’s syndrome, giant cell arteritis, and Sjögren's syndrome. Any research relevant to inflammation and uveitis is also welcomed.


  • Applications open – May 2024
  • Deadline – 24 July 2024
  • Funding outcome shared with applicants – December 2024

Max funding / duration


12 months

Success rates

2023/24: 63%

2022/23: 42%

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  • To support our aim to build capacity in vision research and the fields of our partners, lead applicants are particularly encouraged from the following career stages:
    • Early career researchers (either within eight years of their PhD award or equivalent professional training or within six years of their first academic appointment, excluding any career break)
    • New investigators (where this would be the first substantial award)
    • Those new to the field of vision research
    • Those returning to research following a career break
    • Researchers (at any career stage) working in a rare disease space
  • Lead applicants can be allied health professionals, clinical scientists or research scientists and projects can be clinical or non-clinical. For Bowman Club applications, lead applicants can be clinical scientists (ophthalmologists) only.
  • Small Grants are not intended to top up existing grants or be part funding for a larger project.
  • Lead applicants and co-applicants must be affiliated with UK academic or medical institutions.
  • The research must take place within the UK.
  • Lead applicants will usually have a tenured post or be able to demonstrate that they will have a salary for the lifetime of the grant. Please see financial support for more information on claiming salary contributions.
  • Those currently undertaking a PhD or in a post-doc position should check the terms and conditions of their contract before applying.
  • Applications are limited to one per lead applicant.
  • Lead applicants must not currently have two or more active grants with the charity. An applicant with two active grants where one (or more) is due to end by the outcome date of this scheme may still apply.

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Financial support

  • Funding is made in line with AMRC's position statement on supporting research in universities.
  • Applications can include costs for:
    • Salary contribution for the person(s) carrying out the research, e.g. research technician, statistician, or the lead or co-applicant if they do not have a tenured position and only if there is a lead or co-applicant with a tenured position at the host institution
    • Consumables
    • Equipment essential for the project
    • Animal costs
    • Open access publication costs
    • Conference costs
    • Other expenses, such as PPIE or travel
  • Applications cannot include costs for:
    • Salary contribution for the tenured lead applicant or co-applicant(s)
    • Maintenance of equipment
    • Recruitment costs
    • Indirect costs
    • Non-attributable overhead costs

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Application process

All applications must be submitted via Fight for Sight / Vision Foundation’s Grant Tracker system. New applicants must register for an account to access the application form. Returning applicants can login to their existing account.

You must submit your application for approval by the stated deadline for your submission to be processed.

Following submission, applications will require approval from two authorised signatories of the host institution (Head of Department and Finance Office). We allow 72 hours (three days) from the deadline for approvals. It is recommended to seek the appropriate signatories as early as possible, as these must be added when you submit your application. Please consider any annual leave and double check email addresses, as applications with outstanding approvals 72 hours past the deadline will not be processed.

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Review process

Fight for Sight / Vision Foundation is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and follows their guidelines for best practice in peer review.

Small Grants involve a one-stage process.

Applications will be scored simultaneously by up to three reviewers: members of the Fight for Sight / Vision Foundation's Research Grants Assessment Panel (RGAP) and a representative from the relevant partner organisation (where applicable).

To ensure that we fund the highest quality research, successful awards must pass a minimum quality threshold as determined by Fight for Sight / Vision Foundation's RGAP.

The following review criteria across three key themes are used when considering the application:

Key theme 1: Scientific merit
Category 1: Project

  • An important, clear and focused research question, which is hypothesis driven and/or a PICO question
  • Achievable in the timeframe
  • Adequate and appropriate methods for the research question
  • Evidence to support the feasibility of the project
  • Adequate and appropriate plans for the evaluation of research outcomes, including a sample size / power calculation

Category 2: Research team and environment

  • A research team with suitable experience and expertise evidenced by a good track record that will contribute to the project's success
  • A research environment with the appropriate facilities and resources

Category 3: Governance

  • Appropriate consideration for risks, budget and ethics

Key theme 2: Importance of research

Category 1: Addressing unmet need driven by public involvement

  • Identification of an important, clear unmet need
  • Public involvement in the development of the research proposal, involvement plans throughout the project and engagement plans upon completion
  • Realistic outline of pathway to potential benefit for people with or at risk of sight loss

Category 2: Potential for progress

  • Avoiding duplication of existing or ongoing work
  • Clear pathway to impact
  • Likelihood of significant new understanding or evidence

Key theme 3: Capacity building

Category 1: Training and opportunities

  • Focus on training and development
  • Support from research team and environment

Category 2: Future in vision research

  • Demonstrated interest in remaining, becoming, or training a vision researcher
  • Clear next steps for future studies and funding


Applications above the threshold will be discussed with the relevant partners and Fight for Sight / Vision Foundation's Social Impact and Scientific Research (SISR) Committee.

The SISR Committee will then make recommendations to the Board of Trustees based on the rankings, RGAP and partner feedback and the strategic interests of the charity.

Outcomes and feedback will be shared with all applicants, including anonymised review comments.

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Contact us

For any queries, please contact Fight for Sight / Vision Foundation’s research team at