Apply for a Research Grant

About Save Sight Research Grants

The Save Sight Society will be distributing research grants as part of its long term commitment to research. Grants will be available to ophthalmologists, trainee ophthalmologists or work being done in University Departments of Ophthalmology. The contribution to the project by the ophthalmologists involved should be substantial and detailed. Applications for grants are encouraged from new investigators.

The Save Sight Society invites applications for one year research grants in ophthalmology and related fields in 2022. The closing date for grant applications is 5pm Friday 14th May 2021.

In order to provide the fairest distribution of (limited) SSS Research Grant funding across as many NZ-based researchers/research groups as possible in any year:

  1. There will be a strict limit of one SSS Research Grant application per Principal Investigator per year.
  2. In all SSS grants where a Principal Investigator of one application is also named on a second SSS application as a subsidiary investigator/mentor in the same year, that investigator must provide a detailed description of their time commitment in all SSS applications, and any other contemporaneous research grants from other sources.
  3. Applications for grants will be particularly encouraged from new investigators to support developing research.
  4. Applications close 5pm Friday 14th May 2021. Note that this is a few weeks earlier than ORIA applications to allow applications to be forwarded to ORIA for ranking.
  5. Funds will be available for allocation to successful applicants from 4th April 2022.

Grant applications will be ranked by the Ophthalmic Research Institute of Australia (ORIA) Research Committee. Other factors that will be taken into consideration when awarding a grant will be the size of the grant being applied for and the research funds that the Save Sight Society have available in any one year. In general Save Sight supports the principle of awarding a number of smaller grants rather than one large grant. Those applying for grants should consider what has been awarded previously.

The application should address the points below in 12 pt format. The whole background and research plan should comprise a maximum of five pages with one additional page for references

The Heather Mackintosh Junior Research Grant

The intention of this grant is to encourage Junior Ophthalmology Research.

  1. This grant is available to Vocational Trainees, and those non-vocational doctors who are currently supported in an Ophthalmology department and who intend to become Vocational Trainees.
  2. One grant per year is available up to $5000
  3. Papers will be selected by the Save Sight Directors Research Sub-committee based on merit. However, in order to encourage early researchers, preference will be given to applicants who have not previously received grants.
  4. Funds will be towards costs of disposables and equipment rather than for infrastructure costs or salaries.
  5. Funds would be made available to successful applicants from 4th April in the following year.
  6. A report is to be submitted to the Save Sight Society at the branch RANZCO meeting in the year following the receipt of funds.

Applications should follow the guidelines outlined under Make a Grant Application noting that under section 7 the reference to salaries does not apply.

The closing date for all Save Sight Grants is 5pm Friday 14th May 2021.

Make a Grant Application

The Save Sight Society invites applications for one year research grants in ophthalmology and related fields in 2022. The closing date for grant applications is 5pm Friday 14th May 2021.

Applications for research grants should include:

  1. Name(s) of applicant or applicants. Only one application will be funded per Principal Investigator (a principal investigator can be a co-investigator on another grant).
  2. Qualifications and experience of the applicant and co-workers. A two-page CV excluding publications, should be included with a further two pages for publications of the past ten years only and include a list of grants received from all sources in the last five years.
  3. Address to which correspondence should be directed, fax number, email, and business telephone number.
  4. A short title of the project.
  5. Lay title of the project.
  6. Details of the proposal, with specific aims or hypotheses and potential significance of the project. Lay description (up to 80 words), background to the project and a detailed research plan should be provided.
  7. Expected time required to complete the project. Grants are for a one-year period of funding only, commencing in January of the following year. This funding should be regarded as a seeding grant with no anticipation of continued funding for subsequent years.
  8. Amount requested, with a full breakdown of salaries, administrative or on-costs, travel and equipment. A detailed justification for each component of the budget, and quotations for equipment where this is included, must be supplied.
    • GST should not be included.
    • Funding will not be available for travel to conferences.
    • Salaries should be calculated, with appropriate on costs, from the applicable NZ HRC or university pay schedule. The pay schedule used for such calculations should be indicated and detailed.
  9. Please note that items 5 to 8 should be contained in a maximum of 5 pages. The only additional material should be a 2 page CV with up to a further 2 pages of publications for each of the applicants. Any material received running to more than 5 pages for the grant application will be deleted and not considered by the reviewers.
  10. Nature and extent of resources already available or any supplemental funding for this project.
  11. Particulars of applications made, or to be made, to other bodies for assistance for this project. The Research Committee reserves the right to confirm details of other funds provided or applied for.
  12. Where the work will be carried out and what facilities will be available. Confirmation of these details may be requested.


  1. Projects involving experimentation on humans or animals require approval of the Ethics Committee of the appropriate institution. A signed completed Institutional Ethics Committee approval form must be submitted before any funds will be distributed.
  2. It is a condition of the grant that successful applicants will submit a brief written progress report to the directors meeting at RANZCO in the year of the grant, and a complete report by January of the following year. The funding body requires a report for 'due diligence' process.
    The initial report is a progress report that should briefly state the progress made in initiating and undertaking the project or an explanation as to why the project has not commenced.
    The final report should include details of any publications arising from this research and five reprints of such publications should be included, if available. Failure to provide reports will have a negative bearing on any future applications. Recipients may also be required to present the outcomes of their research to a scientific meeting of the NZ Branch of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists.
  3. In submitting an application for funding, it should be expected that the title or other relevant information may be submitted to other bodies associated with the Save Sight Society, and participation in limited publicity activities eg, photos, interviews, updates for publication in newsletters may be requested.
  4. Applications close 5pm Friday 14th May 2021.. Note that this is a few weeks earlier than ORIA applications to allow applications to be forwarded to ORIA for ranking.
  5. Funds will be available for allocation to successful applicants from 4th April 2022.

Please send your electronic submission to:

Hutokshi Chinoy

Grant Application Guidelines Produced by the Research Committee of Save Sight Society

A successful grant application will convince reviewers that:

  1. Your proposed research addresses important questions in basic/ clinical science.
  2. Your proposed experimental plan will answer some of those questions in an efficient and convincing way.
  3. You know and understand the contemporary research literature in your field.
  4. You have sufficient mastery of all the relevant techniques needed to execute your experimental plan.
  5. You have access to all the equipment and reagents needed to execute your experimental plan, and have budgeted appropriately.
  6. You will analyze your data in a thoughtful and honest manner.
  7. You will publish your results in a timely manner.
  8. You will accomplish your experimental plan in the time requested and within the grant amount requested.

General Approach

Write your entire application, then put it aside for a few days. After that, re-read it in its entirety; you'll be surprised how many errors of repetition/poor logic/inconsistency you will find in the early drafts. Then give your revised draft to outside readers. Give these outside readers your best draft, not your first draft. Don't waste their time, patience and expertise by giving them a draft that is incomplete or full of mistakes you could have fixed yourself.


These two very important sections should mesh well together (avoid excessive repetition). They should be the first sections you write, because it is always good to outline what you plan to do before beginning your detailed writing. They should also be the last sections you revise, because it is imperative that they agree with what you have written in the Experimental Design and Methods section.

These sections should introduce the reader to:

  1. The problems you are addressing, with some minimal background to orient the non-specialist.
  2. The overall hypotheses you are testing, and the corollaries of these hypotheses that are being addressed by specific sets of proposed experiments
  3. The main techniques you will be using (to help study section personnel decide which reviewers to assign to your grant)
  4. Your overall experimental plan. Indicate how the results of the various proposed experiments will mesh to form a cohesive whole that will advance significantly your field of research.

Most good research is hypothesis-driven. Make certain that you understand what a hypothesis is: It is your overview of the mechanisms underlying the process you are studying, not just your prediction about how one particular experiment will turn out. Design experiments that will test various predictions of your hypotheses from multiple angles. Make certain that your experimental plan never assumes that your hypotheses are true; this error has doomed many applications. Include only experiments that you have the expertise to do, and for which you have some preliminary data demonstrating feasibility.


The Background section should convince the reader that you have a good command of the current research literature in your field, and that you can be objective and thoughtful in your analysis of data. Don't dodge controversies, but make certain that you are diplomatic and non-dogmatic in your treatment of opposing hypotheses/points of view. You need to convince the reviewer that you are planning to test hypotheses, not simply to collect data to confirm your favorite hypotheses, and that you are open-minded enough to reject your hypotheses if the experimental results so indicate.

Make certain that your background discussion remains focused on the issues your experiments will address. Identify relevant published papers to which you/your laboratory contributed. Cite the work of as many different laboratories/points of view as possible, consistent with clarity and space limitations. At the end of each topic, point out to the reader how your proposed experiments will help resolve important issues in the field.

Your Significance section should be thoughtful, but brief. If your project concerns basic research, don't overstate its clinical significance.


This section helps demonstrate to the reviewer that:

  1. You have experience (hopefully published) with most of the experimental techniques proposed in the application
  2. You can design logical, well-controlled experiments, and
  3. You will present your results in a clear and thoughtful manner.

Show data demonstrating your ability to conduct the most difficult of the proposed experiments. Present your results (even if they are preliminary) in as professional a manner as possible, with clear and complete figure/table legends, calibrations, statistical analysis, etc. A great picture/graph is worth a thousand words. Don't just show raw data. Show only results that are relevant to the proposed experiments, and explicitly point out their relevance.

Present your preliminary data as objectively as possible. Don't overstate your claims or ignore different possible interpretations.

Publish as much of your work as possible in the most rigorous journals in your field. Their reviewers will provide expert commentary on your work, and the study section reviewers pay attention to which journals you publish in. It gives them an additional clue concerning the standards you set for your work.


Indicate how you will design and execute experiments addressing each of your Specific Aims. Propose only experiments that are directly relevant to testing your hypotheses and that you have the expertise to execute successfully. Be aware of the limitations of each technique, e.g., don't use a qualitative assay to address a quantitative question. Include appropriate controls. Don't propose more than your laboratory can reasonably do within the allotted time.

It often helps to divide this section into Detailed Methods (where you give all the important specifics) and Experimental Strategy, where a clear narrative indicates the rationale and design of each experiment, and the interpretation you would give to each possible experimental outcome. Address the most basic issues first. For specific representative experiments, indicate not only how you will execute the experiments, but also how you will analyze the data, interpret various possible results, and revise your experimental plan as results unfold. Indicate important specifics: which exposure times, what concentrations of reagents, which statistical tests, etc., citing appropriate literature. Indicate why you are using each proposed reagent, and be up-to-date on that reagent's specificity. Minimize your use of abbreviations, and always explain the abbreviations you do use. Indicate your source for reagents that are not commercially available.

Address detailed attention to the techniques with which you have the least published experience, checking with experts to make certain your plans are realistic, state-of-the-art, and rigorous. It is helpful to state that you will consult with an expert concerning techniques in which you have less demonstrated expertise, but remember that all relevant techniques must be explained in your application. Remember that you are trying to sell yourself as a person qualified to oversee the entire project. If you do mention using expert consultants and collaborators, make certain that their Biographical Sketches and Support pages are included, as well as letters signed by them that specifically agree to do the things indicated your proposal. It is a good idea to send these experts a sample letter indicating the specific statements you would like them to include.

Try to incorporate your timetable within the body of experimental methods rather than in a specific section at the end. In our experience reviewers often tend to disagree with timetables and you can diffuse some of their objections by spreading out your timetable information, instead of putting it in a separate section at the end.

Avoid repeating yourself - it can make a tired reviewer angry. In other words, if you want to move a section of text, use the "Cut and paste" rather than the "Copy" routine of your word processor!

Try to close Methods with some overall enthusiastic statement about the importance of your experiments, rather than just petering out leaving the reader exhausted by details.


Ask for the minimum amount of money you need to do the work. If you pad the budget, the reviewers are likely to cut it by more than the amount you padded.

Make certain your application is internally consistent. Your budget must agree with the experiments you propose.


Research Grants Awarded Since 2003


Save Sight Society Grant  $21,490

Optimising Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cells for the Treatment of Keratoconus.

Professor Trevor Sherwin (University of Auckland).


Save Sight Society Grant  $12,965

Development and characterisation of a novel 3D neovascularisation model using human donor choroids.

Charisse Kuo (University of Auckland).



Save Sight Society Grant  $25,828

Genetics of Inherited Retinal disease In Maori and Pacific Peoples.

Associate Professor Andrea Vincent (University of Auckland).


Save Sight Society Grant  $15,000

The Effects of Shingles on the Eye.

Dr Jay Meyer (University of Auckland).


Save Sight Society Grant  $15,000

Transition Zone Cells for Corneal Endothelial Replacement Therapy.

Dr Jie Zhang (University of Auckland).


Save Sight Society Grant  $15,000

Optimising Umbilical Cord Stem Cells for the Treatment of Corneal Endothelial Disorders.

Professor Trevor Sherwin (University of Auckland).


Heather Mackintosh Grant  $5,000

Changes in the Biomechanics of the Eye with Vitrectomy.

Dr Ken Ng (Wellington Hospital).


Heather Mackintosh Grant  $5,000

Visual Impairment in New Zealand’s Elderly Population Residing in Residential Care Facilities.

Dr Ruhella Hossain (University of Auckland).



Save Sight Society Grant  $27,160

Establishment of the New Zealand Endophthalmitis Registry.

Rachael Niederer (Auckland District Health Board).


Save Sight Society Grant  $29,417

Why Do Women Live Longer Than Men? (The Aging Eye: Only as Old as Your Stem Cells).

Trevor Sherwin (University of Auckland).


Heather Mackintosh Scholarship  $5,000

A Clinical Trial of Latanoprost in Optic Nerve Drusen.

Paul Kim (supervised by Jesse Gale, Capital and Coast District Health Board).



RANZCO/Save Sight Society Grant  $26,103

Screening for keratoconus in Down syndrome.

Mathan et al.


Save Sight Society Grant  $22,470

Transition zone graft as a treatment for corneal endothelial diseases.

Zhang et al.



RANZCO/Save Sight Society Grant  $25,000

Molecular characterisation in an unsolved inherited optic atrophy cohort using a candidate gene approach.

Associate Professor Andrea Vincent et al.


Save Sight Society Grant  $25,000

A new vision for healing corneal wounds.

Professor Trevor Sherwin et al.


Heather Mackintosh Junior Research Grant  $5,000

Screening for keratoconus in Down Syndrome.

Joyce Mathan



Save Sight Society Grant  $26,322.00

Functional characterisation of a PDE6B founder mutation in the NZ Maori Population causing inherited retinal disease.

Vincent et al.



Save Sight Society Grant  $23,067.00

Elucidating the Genetic defect in North Carolina Macular Dystrophy – a rare retinal disease - using Exome sequencing.

Vincent et al.

Download project report


Heather Mackintosh Junior Research Grant  $1960.00

Incidence of diabetes in patients undergoing cataract surgery.




RANZCO/Save Sight Society Grant  $26,364.00

Novel retinal disease genes: investigation and functional characterisation using exome sequencing and zebrafish tools.

Oliver et al.

Download project report


Save Sight Society Grant  $24,894.00

Universal newborn eye screening for congenital abnormalities.

Watkins et al.

Download project report


Heather Mackintosh Junior Research Grant  $2000.00

Demographic analysis of glaucoma in a New Zealand population.

Mathan et al.

Download project report



Allergan/Save Sight Society Grant  $27,430

A novel cell-penetrating peptide for oligonucleotide delivery to the retina - can we close the gap?

Rupenthal et al

Download project report


RANZCO / Save Sight Society Grant  $20,000

Pluripotent stem cell therapy for cornea.

Sherwin et al


Save Sight Society Grant  $19,860

Characterisation of the genetic basis of recurrent corneal erosion corneal dystrophy using zebrafish model.


Download project report



Save Sight Society Grant  $25,000

The analysis of clinical outcomes and micro structural changes following trans-epithelial accelerated corneal collagen cross-linking for the treatment of progressive keratoconus.

Goh et al.


Allergan Grant

Molecular Characterisation of Corneal Stromal Cells in Keratoconus.

Cheung et al.



Alcon/Save Sight Grant  $18,333

Intravitreal implantation of encapsulated neonatal porcine choroid plexus in a rodent model of retinal degeneration.

Worsely et al.


Allergan/Save Sight Grant  $18,333

Identification of the Genetic basis of Non-Fibrillin related Ectopia Lentis and Marfanoid features.

Vincent et al.


Save Sight Grant  $18,333

Protecting retinal ganglion cells following retinal ischaemia and inflammation.

Zhang et al.


Heather Mackintosh Junior Research Grant  $2,000

Topical steroids for bacterial keratitis.

McDonald et al.



Alcon/Save Sight Grant  $24,153

Identification of the genetic basis for an autosomal dominant anterior corneal dystrophy with recurrent corneal erosions and large flecks.

Vincent et al.


Allergan/Save Sight Grant  $22,126

Correlation of corneal nerve microstructure and function with peripheral neuropathy in type 1 diabetes mellitus.

Misra et al.


Save Sight Grant  $13,721

Macular and refractive changes after glaucoma filtration surgery.

Ang et al.


Heather Mackintosh Junior Research Grant  $2,000

Wellington Diabetic Maculopathy Longitudinal Study.

Chan et al.



Alcon/Save Sight Grant  $20,000

Cell-to-cell communication in cells of the retina in a rodent model of glaucoma.

Kerr et al.


Allergan/Save Sight Grant  $19,632.67

Establishment of a New Zealand Database for Inherited Retinal and Optic Nerve Disease.

Vincent et al.


Save Sight Grant  $20,000

Cytokine profiling of corneal wound healing to improve repair.

Sherwin et al.



Alcon/ Save Sight Grant  $29,690

Gap junction communication in retinal ganglion cell death after optic nerve injury.

Chew et al.


Allergan/Save Sight Grant  $25,642

Genome wide Scan in an Autosomal Dominant Family with Variant Fleck Corneal Dystrophy.

Vincent et al.



Alcon/Save Sight Grant  $29,493

Effect of light exposure on the normal rat retina.

McGhee et al.


Allergan/Save Sight Grant  $26,000

Understanding angiogenesis in the human cornea.



Glaucoma NZ Grant  $27,810

Evaluation of Connexin43 antisense oligodoxynucleotide as a novel wound modulating agent in glaucoma filtration surgery in rabbits.

Deva et al.


Alcon/Save Sight Grant  $18,000

Determination of the genetic basis for blepharophimosis-ptosis-epicanthus Inversus syndrome in a New Zealand polynesian pedigree.

Vincent et al.



Alcon/Save Sight Society Grant  $30,000

The ABC and the XYZ of Corneal Wound Healing

Sherwin et al.


Allergan/Save Sight Society Grant  $28,526

Assesment of the Efficacy of Anti-sense oligodeoxynucleotide directed against Connexion-43 in the Treatment of Anterior Ischaemic Optic Neuropathy

Papchenko et al.


The Glaucoma New Zealand Grant  $21,549

The Determination of the Genetic basis for glaucoma in a New Zealand population




Alcon/Save Sight Society Grant  $30,203

Cytokine profiling of keratoconic corneas

Sherwin et al.


Allergan/Save Sight Society Grant  $27,778

Molecular Characterisation of familial keratoconus

Vincent et al.



Alcon/Save Sight Society Grant  $31,850

Quantitative analysis of Compressive Optic Neurophathies with Optical Coherence Tomography and Heidelberg Retina Tomograph and Correlation of Morphological Appearance of the Optic Nerve with Visual Field Defects

Danesh-Meyer et al.


Save Sight Society/RANZCO Grant  $14,445

Clinical application of a novel antisense formulation to improve corneal wound healing

Laux-Fenton et al.



Alcon/Save Sight Society Grant  $18,000

Linkage and mutational analysis of individuals affected with corneal dystrophies, using a candidate gene approach

Vincent et al.



Save Sight Society/RANZCO Grant  $17,000

Correlation of Heidelburg Retina Tomograph (HRT), Stereoscopic optic disc camera (DISCAM), Stereophotography and clinical impression of detecting glaucomatous optic disc change amongst Ophthalmologists

Jayasundera et al.


Alcon/Save Sight Society Grant  $10,000

Using Proteomics to Resolve Human Cataract Formation

Sherwin et al.


Further Information

For more information about Save Sight Society grants please fill out our contact form.