AAO, RPB Announce Joint Population-Based Study Grant

NOVEMBER 11, 2017
Kevin Kunzmann
David W. Parke, MD, AAO CEODavid W. Parke, MD
The Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) and American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) announced a new grant category for aspiring researchers in population-based studies.

The grant, The Research to Prevent Blindness/American Academy of Ophthalmology Award for IRIS Registry research, was  announced at the 121st Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO 2017) in New Orleans, LA. It will be set to support researchers using the academy’s IRIS Registry database to survey trends in ophthalmology and blindness prevention.

Six studies will be funded $35,000 each over 2 years, with recipients being given the opportunity to learn about the IRIS Registry’s analytic features. The registry is currently the largest clinical database in the world, with collected data on more than 41 million patients.

David W. Parke, MD, Chief Executive Officer of AAO, said the IRIS Registry in short time has become a sought-after tool for data analytics, practice patterns, and clinical outcomes.

“The next step is to develop opportunities for engaging clinical researchers to analyze this unique, growing resource to reveal patterns of disease, their determinants, and approaches to prevention and treatment that advances the ophthalmic progression to the benefit our patients — present and future,” Parke said.

Recipients will be provided subsets of data for their analysis-based studies, and they will be required to submit results for peer-reviewed publication within 6 months of analysis.

RPB, a nonprofit organization designated to supporting eye disease treatment research, has awarded about $359 million in research grants since being founded in 1960. Its leaders expressed hope for the progress to come from the funded registry studies.

“RPB catalyzes innovation by supporting excellent research and the IRIS Registry’s unique data offers a powerful resource to conduct new, important, and impactful vision research,” Brian F. Holland, PhD, President of RPB, said.  

The grant awards will be open to individual ophthalmology, population health, and epidemiology researchers, or researchers from a related academic field with interest in population vision research.

The applicants must also have relevant experience with analytics, and prose a research question that advance the AAO mission of protecting sight and empowering lives, according to the academy.

Application for the first round of 3 grants began Saturday, and will close on January 31, 2018. Interested applicants can submit their proposals online.

The IRIS Registry Anayltics Committee will review applications, and select top-ranked nominees for the consideration of RPB’s Scientific Advisory Panel, who will review and select the awardees. Grantees will be notified in July 2018, with research beginning shortly after.

The last 3 grants will be awarded following a similar process in 2019.

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