Grant making process

Grant applicants must state which one of our six research priority areas they would like their application to be considered under.

We will continue to operate response mode funding. Research can include basic laboratory research studying how the eye works and the mechanisms underlying eye diseases, through to applied research such as new therapies as well as pre-clinical and clinical studies.

Funding decisions are made by Fight for Sight Grants Committee which comprises both scientific and lay Trustees. In making decisions the Grants Committee considers the charity’s six research priority areas and the recommendations of the Assessment Panel (GAP or SGAP). The Assessment Panels comprise both clinical and basic researchers who are specialists in a wide range of eye diseases and makes recommendations to the Grants Committee based on the scientific excellence of the applications.


Funding opportunities and deadlines for the submission of applications are published on our website, on external websites, in specialist journals and on grants databases. 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

Applications for PhD Studentships, Project and Programme Grants, Clinical Fellowships and Early Career Investigator Awards follow a two stage peer-review process as shown in the diagram below. There is a separate application process for Small Grants, please see 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. All relevant abstract applications are peer-reviewed and scored by up to six members of the Grants Assessment Panel (GAP). Taking this and the charity’s research priority areas into account the Grants Committee selects those applicants to be invited to submit full applications.

  • 2. Full application stage

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

    Each full application is assigned to six members of the GAP who will act as readers and lead the discussion on the application at the panel meeting. The readers for each application receive the full applications, external reviewers’ reports and applicants’ rebuttals prior to the panel meeting.

    Readers provide a written report on the application taking into account the reviewers’ reports and the applicants’ rebuttal.

    At the panel meeting the readers present their reports and also take the lead in a general panel discussion, followed by scoring. All applications are ranked based on the final score. A ranked list of projects recommended by GAP is produced and sent to the Grants Committee prior to a meeting to select applications for funding within the charity’s research priority framework.

    Unsuccessful applicants are provided with feedback based on the readers’ reports and any issues arising from the discussion of their application at the GAP meeting.

Application process for Small Grants

Applicants for Small Grant Awards and New Lecturers’ Small Grant Awards are required to submit a three page application which is reviewed and scored by the Small Grants Assessment Panel (SGAP) and ranked. The Grants Committee is responsible for awarding all small grants taking into account the recommendations from SGAP and the Charity’s research priorities and strategic goals. Feedback is not provided to unsuccessful applicants.