About Awards

Postdoctoral Scholar Awards

Three IRRF Scholar Awards have been designated in honor of individuals who played a critical role in the development of the International Retinal Research Foundation and are meant to serve as a memorial to their efforts.  Three awards are given:  The Alston Callahan, MD Scholar AwardThe Charles D. Kelman, MD Scholar Award; and the Loris and David Rich Scholar Award.  The IRRF Postdoctoral Scholar Awards were established to provide salary and research support in the amount of $35,000 per year for a postdoctoral scholar nearing the end of his/her training.  By the end of this support, IRRF Scholars are expected to have gained the expertise necessary to engage in productive eye research so that they will be self-sufficient and independent in their own laboratory.  It is anticipated that suitable applicants will be identified by established vision scientists.

Deadline for submitting applications for The Scholar Award is March 15, and will be reviewed by the IRRF Director of Education, with final approval to come from the Board of Directors. All notifications will be provided in writing by mid-June, with a July 1 funding date.

Guidelines for the IRRF Scholar Award may be obtained by writing to:

Sandra Blackwood, MPA Executive Director International Retinal Research Foundation, Inc. 1720 University Blvd. Birmingham, AL 35233-1816 USA

Forms can also be obtained by calling:  205/325-8103 Or by Email:  [email protected] An original and one copy of the completed application should be returned to the above address no later than March 15.


  • Applicants must have earned a Ph.D., M.D., or equivalent degree.
  • At time of application, no more than 3 years of postdoctoral training will be accepted.
  • Applicants must be involved in scientific research on the diseases of the macula or peripheral retina that will accelerate the discovery of the causes, treatment, and cure of macular diseases.
  • Scholarships are open to United States and foreign citizens who are receiving training at a nonprofit research institution in the U.S., excluding the NIH.  A valid U.S. visa must be maintained at the time of application and throughout the award period for all applicants who are not United States citizens.  Permanent residents of the United States must provide a copy of their Alien Registration card.  Persons who have applied for permanent resident status but have not received their government documentation by the time of application are not eligible.  The IRRF will not handle visa or permanent residency matters for candidates.
  • For applicants with an M.D. degree, postdoctoral training excludes clinically oriented programs where patient billing by fellows is a component of the research
  • Applicants must be sponsored by a faculty member currently performing vision-related research who will accept the role of mentor for the duration of the funding period.  The sponsor is responsible for the mentoring component of the training and for providing the research environment.
  • Applications must be accompanied by one (1) letter of support, which should be from the faculty sponsor.
Maximum Annual Funding Amount:

The IRRF Scholar Award will provide salary and research support for one year in the amount of $35,000.  Three IRRF Scholar Awards will be approved per year.

Funding Restrictions:
  • Awards are made to institutions on behalf of the recipient.  The institutions are responsible for disbursing the funds and for maintaining pertinent documentation and receipts of expenditures.  Indirect costs may not be charged against the awards.
  • The IRRF Scholar Awards are intended to foster the development of vision researchers in an individual manner. Though administered by the institution, funds are under the control of the grantee and may be used as supplemental salary support, consumable laboratory supplies, and approved travel expenses to scientific meetings.
  • The IRRF Scholar Awards are granted for salary and research “support.”  In the event that the grantee institution mandates a salary and benefit amount that exceeds The IRRF Scholar Award maximum, a commitment must be obtained from the mentor, grantee institution, or an independent source for the outstanding balance.
  • All funds must be used within 12 months of the date of receipt, and may not be renewed or extended beyond the original term date.  Any unused funds held by institutions when awards expire or are terminated must be returned to the IRRF.
  • The IRRF prefers that award recipients do not move from one institution to another during the one-year training period; however, awards may be transferred upon written approval from the IRRF Board of Directors.  Requests must be received at least two (2) months prior to any move.  Any supplies purchased with award funds may be taken with the grantee.


All postdoctoral scholars receiving funding through IRRF Scholar Awards must abide by the rules and regulations mandated by the grantee institution’s Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, or if no formal office is designated, the department under which responsibility for overseeing postdoctoral training falls.

  • Award recipients are encouraged to produce publications of findings as determined by mutual agreement between the Award Scholar and the mentor.  Any publications resulting from research performed by any recipient of an award must acknowledge receipt of funds from the International Retinal Research Foundation as an Award Scholar.
  • Patent and Intellectual Property Policy:
  • The IRRF has established a patent and intellectual property policy that governs any and all inventions or intellectual properties that result from support, in whole or in part, of research, training grants, or awards from the IRRF.
  • Please refer to the IRRF Policy Statements:  Patent and Intellectual Property
Use of Human Subjects or Vertebrate Animals for Research:
  • Research projects involving human subjects and/or vertebrate animals must meet or exceed standards required for United States federal government funding.
  • For research involving animals, a copy of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) protocol approval or comparable institutional approval must be submitted before grant funds can be released.  All research must be performed at an institution that has a current animal welfare assurance number on file with the U.S. Public Health Service Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW).
  • If human subjects are used, a copy of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) protocol approval or comparable institutional approval must be submitted before grant funds can be released.
  • Please refer to the IRRF Policy Statements: Use of Human Subjects in Research and Use of Animals in Research.
Financial Reports:
  • The IRRF requires a financial report at the end of the one-year award period.
  • A final report showing allocations and expenditures must be submitted within 60 days of the end of the funding period.  This report must be signed by the Principal Investigator and an institutional representative and must show that grant funds were used in accordance with IRRF Scholar Award guidelines.
Progress Report:

The IRRF requires a scientific progress report be submitted within 60 days of the end of the one-year award period.  The information provided in this progress report may be used in public education materials produced by IRRF staff.  The IRRF Scholar will be consulted prior to use of such information.  Information marked Confidential will not be released.  Reprints of subsequent publications acknowledging support of the IRRF should be submitted as they become available.

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