Grant making process

We aim to fund high quality research that seeks to address sight loss across all eye diseases and conditions however, the majority of funding will be allocated to the charity’s four Strategic Programmes on Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), Glaucoma, Inherited eye diseases and Sight loss linked to other diseases (Multi-morbidities). We fund from basic through to clinical research that supports our goals operating through response mode funding and targeted calls. We will not routinely fund social or service delivery research unless it is through a strategically targeted call.

Research proposals are assessed by the Fight for Sight’s Assessment Panels. The Assessment Panels comprise both clinical and basic researchers who are specialists in a wide range of eye diseases. They make recommendations to the charity’s Research, Policy & Innovation (RPI) Committee based on the scientific excellence and feasibility of the proposed research. Funding decisions are made by the RPI Committee which comprises of both scientific and lay Trustees. In making decisions the RPI Committee considers the charity’s four Strategic Programmes to allocate funding.

Where funding calls are advertised in collaboration with partner organisations the assessment process will incorporate discussions with the relevant partner to identify areas of strategic interest.


Funding opportunities and deadlines for the submission of applications are published on our website, on stakeholder websites, through specialist networks and social media. Email notifications are sent to those on our grants database. Application forms, guidelines and Terms and Conditions for each grant can be found in Funding opportunities.

The application process

All applications to be considered for funding must be submitted via our online Grants Management System. Applications for PhD Studentships and Project Grants follow a two stage application process involving peer-review as shown in the diagram below.

Grant making process

Application stages

  • 1. Abstract application stage

    The first stage in the application process is the submission of an abstract application providing an outline of the proposed research. Applications will be categorised by their relevant Strategic Programme. All abstract applications are assessed and scored by up to six members of the Grants Assessment Panel (GAP). The RPI Committee selects those applicants to be invited to submit a full application. The decision is informed by the GAP’s assessment and takes into account the charity’s Strategic Programmes.
  • 2. Full application stage

    Full applications received by the appropriate closing date are assessed by a minimum of three independent peer reviewers with expertise in the subject area. The peer reviewers provide a written critique of the application. Applicants receive a copy of the anonymised reviewers’ comments and are invited to provide a rebuttal.

    Each full application is allocated to six members of the GAP who will act as Lead Assessors. They will present the application, reviewers’ comments and the rebuttal at the GAP Meeting.

    Each application is scored by the Lead Assessors following the discussion. A ranked list of applications recommended by GAP is produced. The RPI Committee ratify the agreed awards based on the GAP’s recommendations and the allocation of funding within the charity’s Strategic Programme framework.

    Unsuccessful applicants are provided with feedback based on the Lead Assessors’ comments during the GAP Meeting

Application process for Small Grants

Applicants for Small Grants are required to complete a shorter application which is reviewed and scored by the Small Grants Assessment Panel (SGAP) and ranked. The RPI Committee is responsible for awarding all small grants taking into account the recommendations from SGAP and the priorities determined by partner organisations. Feedback is not provided to unsuccessful applicants.

Application process for Fellowships

The Primer Fellowships and Ophthalmology Trainee Network Awards involve a one stage process however the applicant will be interviewed as the final assessment stage.

The Clinical Research Training Fellowship and the Fulbright/Fight for Sight Research Award is administered by the MRC and Fulbright Commission respectively.