Application Guidelines


  • The IRRF will fund grants for research at non-profit organizations only, and are awarded to the institution rather than to individual investigators. IRRF funds may be applied toward indirect costs up to but not to exceed 5% of the total requested project amount. Principal investigators must have primary faculty appointments at the level of instructor or higher. Postdoctoral scholars may serve as co-investigators.
  • The IRRF does not fund construction of buildings. The purchase of large capital equipment items that exceed $10,000 in cost must be justified in writing.
  • The IRRF will not fund the salary of the Principal Investigator except when matching funds are committed from another funding agency. A request for Principal Investigator salary must be thoroughly justified in writing.
  • Postdoctoral fellowship funding will only be approved for individuals who have been awarded a terminal degree (Ph.D., M.D., O.D., D.D.S., D.V.M., etc.) and who have opted to pursue training in the area of vision research. Applications for postdoctoral fellows may be independent of larger or ongoing projects. Funding levels for salaries are determined by using current guidelines set by NIH, based on years of post-graduate experience. The annual amount allowed will be increased by an additional percentage amount, according to the institutional requirements for fringe benefits.
  • The IRRF will not fund projects that do not relate specifically to and/or involve scientific research on the diseases of the human eye, especially its center, the macula, and peripheral retinal research that ultimately will accelerate the outcome of discovery. This restriction includes fund raising campaigns or political lobbying.
  • Funds may be requested for travel; however, no more than a total of $2,000 in any 12-month period will be approved. Travel expenses must be clearly defined (educational meeting, site visits, etc.) and will only be approved for the principal and co-investigators of an approved project

The IRRF will strictly enforce an annual funding cap of $100,000 per research project. Therefore, proposals submitted to the IRRF for funding should be prepared keeping this annual cap in mind. Renewed funding periods may be considered.


Funding periods will be limited to one year; however if funds permit, renewals can be considered after receipt of a renewal application and favorable review of the required progress and financial reports. All applications for continuation of funding must be accompanied by a clear and concise research plan and must be received according to the established deadline dates. (See Administrative Requirements – “Financial Reports,” “Progress Reports”)


All grants may be extended beyond the date of the original term date with no increase in funding upon receipt of a written request that includes a detailed financial accounting of expended funds, a scientific progress report, and a clear justification for the extension request. Because approval of these requests is not automatic but is contingent upon IRRF approval, requests should be submitted at least 30 days before the original end-date. (See Administrative Requirements – “Funding Extensions”)

  • The number of additional funding applications that can be considered from a principal investigator currently receiving IRRF funds is restricted to one renewal application.  At the end of a renewal funding cycle, the principal investigator must wait at least one funding cycle (1 calendar year) before reapplying for funds.
  • Although it is a requirement that only two consecutive funding applications be approved, the IRRF Board reserves the right to continue such funding at its option.  All requests must be thoroughly supported with documentation of previous studies and an explanation of expected findings.
  • To better facilitate the budgeting process, the IRRF board of directors will accept applications only once a year with a corresponding award and funding date. The schedule for funding is as follows:
  • Determinations for all applications received on or before May 15 will be announced in writing on the first day of September, with funds released on October 1.  Postdoctoral Scholar nominations received on March 15 will be announced in writing on the first day of June, with funds released on July 1.
  • All administrative requirements, including IRB and IACUC approvals, must be complete with documentation received by the IRRF before grant funds can be released.   If such documentation has not been received within ninety (90) days of notification of intent to fund, the IRRF reserves the right to rescind all funding obligations.

Although the IRRF may commit grant funds for a specific term, it reserves the right to discontinue the grant at any time in the event the work performed is in breach of any of the terms and obligations set forth in these guidelines. (Also See Administrative Requirements – “Failure to Meet Required Administrative Requirements”)


In the event that funding support is received in addition to IRRF funds for a particular project, those overlapping grant funds must be disclosed to the IRRF.

  • 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 for the project for which IRRF funds are committed must be received before grant funds can be released. The approval must state the principal investigator, the title of the project, and the International Retinal Research Foundation as the funding agency. All research must be performed at an institution that has a current animal welfare assurance 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 for the project for which IRRF funds are committed must be received before grant funds can be released. The approval must state the principal investigator, the title of the project, and the International Retinal Research Foundation as the funding agency.
  • Please refer to the IRRF Policy Statements: “Use of Human Subjects in Research and Use of Animals in Research.”

Donors and other interested individuals are routinely informed about the research sponsored by the IRRF. Information provided to the public by the IRRF may include the title of the project, the name and institutional affiliation of the principal investigator, the amount of the award, and a non-technical description of the research being performed. Acceptance of IRRF funds shall be deemed as consent of the principal investigator and the institution to the publication of this information. The principal investigator will be consulted prior to use of scientific information provided in the application or subsequent progress report, and confidential material will not be released.


All publications resulting from research sponsored by the IRRF, whether partially or solely supported, must include credit for such funding.

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