The Royal College of Ophthalmologists / Fight for Sight Zakarian Awards

These awards are offered jointly between the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) and Fight for Sight. They are named to honour the late Miss Zakarian who generously left Fight for Sight a legacy to help the charity support pioneering researchers. Naming the award after Miss Zakarian pays tribute to her kindness and the important difference she has made to ophthalmology research. 

Fight for Sight's mission is to stop sight loss by funding the highest quality medical research. The RCOphth recognises that research is the basis of high-quality evidence-based clinical care, services, and policies.


We are proud to collaborate to support research through this awards scheme. Three awards will be offered to ophthalmologists who are members of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, to gain experience and undertake ophthalmic and vision research.

The RCOphth Zakarian Awards are designed to support three categories of researchers:

  1. Ophthalmology trainees not in the IATS or other research training posts seeking to undertake research. Support can be sought for consumables, equipment and open access dissemination and for salary support to buy ‘time out’ from a training programme to undertake research.
  2. Consultants or SAS ophthalmologists holding NHS substantive contracts and without dedicated research time (PAs in job plan). Those holding academic posts/contracts are ineligible. Support can be sought for buying out time in the job plan for research, or for consumables or equipment to establish a research project.
  3. Academic Clinical Fellow (NIHR IATS ACF) Ophthalmology trainees seeking to prepare preliminary/pilot data to develop their proposed PhD projects and/or doctoral research training funding applications. Support can be sought for consumables, equipment and open access dissemination.

We are especially keen to support those without any or very limited prior research experience and/or those not in academic posts in order to help them get started in research, in keeping with the 'Research For All' agenda.

Successful applicants are expected to gain experience of and exposure to a research environment in order to increase their skills and knowledgebase. 

These are prestigious awards, made on a fully competitive and peer reviewed basis. The call follows a two-stage application process.

Applications must be made and submitted by the intended recipient of the award. It is expected that applications will be submitted in close collaboration with a research Mentor, to maximise the likelihood of successful completion of the research.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to interview to discuss their application with the award panel.


Applicants are invited to undertake medical research in any area of ophthalmology and vision sciences 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
  • Enable clinicians to better support their patients with established eye conditions
  • Inform the development of health and other policy in the area of ophthalmology or sight impairment

The applicant is expected to publish the data gathered during the course of the award and use the experience to strengthen future further research.  

Financial support and duration
  • Grant of up to £25,000 for one year
  • Includes the costs of 
    • consumables
    • buying ‘time out’ for applicants in training programme (if relevant)
    • open access publication costs
  • Excludes indirect costs and any other non-attributable overhead costs.

The deadline for applications is 13:00 on Tuesday 18 July 2023. Please note applications past the deadline will not be accepted. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed on 5 September 2023. Candidates are asked to hold this date. Successful applicants will be notified in October with the award expected to start by December 2023.

Contact us

For any queries relating to your proposal please contact Fight for Sight at or The Royal College of Ophthalmologists at

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

Guidelines for Applicants Terms and Conditions