Seed Award

Our Seed Award is now open to applications. 

Dates for the 2024 Seed grant round are as follows:

Open to Applications - 27th June 2024

Application deadline - 6th September 2024 (23.59 BST)

    Grants awarded - November 2024


The Seed Award supports a diverse portfolio of research projects, including:

    • Proof of concept, fundamental or basic, and disease modelling research with a clear pathway to patient benefit.
    • Laboratory based, pre-clinical research projects, building on existing proof-of-concept data, with a clear pathway to patient benefit. In particular, we will consider discrete elements of larger translational research projects (at Translational Readiness Level 5, 6, or 7) such as:
      • Projects that are relevant to and highly promising in the clinical setting (i.e., the applicants have already shown that the idea might be used as therapy in man).
      • Projects that are focused on therapeutic entity/drug development/repurposing. We welcome projects that assess properties such as potency, efficacy, selectivity, or bioavailability of compounds identified by previous research as potentially strong candidates for therapeutic applications.
      • We will also consider requests for funds required to investigate unexpected research developments arising from ongoing translational projects which have the potential to signpost new solutions for patients.
  • Research delivered in a clinical setting as supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network (Sight Research UK is an NIHR Non-commercial Partner).
  • Applied healthcare projects that can deliver tangible patient benefit, including the development of new low vision devices.
  • We encourage applications from non-tenured early career researchers.

Essential Documents:

If you would like to be added to our mailing list to receive updates on our Seed Award grant rounds, please email

Informative banner for Sight Research UK's Seed Award 2024

Frequently Asked Questions:

Am I eligible to apply?

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In order to apply for any of our funding schemes:

  • Applicants must be UK based university researchers, or NHS based clinicians and clinical researchers, or allied healthcare professionals, including optometrists and opticians in the community.
  • We accept applications for projects that will be carried out across multiple institutions, but the funding will be awarded to the lead applicant’s host institution.
  • The lead applicant’s contract of employment must cover the full duration of the proposed project.

What can I apply for?

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Applications can be on the basis of: 

  • Proof of concept research with a clear pathway to patient benefit.
  • Applied healthcare projects that can deliver tangible patient benefit, including the development of new low vision devices.
  • Research delivered in a clinical setting as supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network (Sight Research UK is an NIHR Non-commercial Partner).

Research projects can include early stage research focused on :

  • “Repurposing” clinical studies – using existing therapies for new indications in eye diseases.
  • Developing and testing novel devices.
  • Developing and testing diagnostics (including biomarker validation).

All research should aim focus on eventual diagnostic or treatment solutions applicable to eye conditions.

What is the value of the award?

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The maximum value and duration of the grant are:

  • Up to £15,000
  • Up to 12 months

What does the award pay for?

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The grant can be used flexibly to meet several types of expenditure:

    • Salary contributions on this grant are typically envisaged for staff appointed with the sole purpose of working on the proposed project (such as Research Assistants or other postdoctoral, contract staff). Please note that the grant is not intended for PhD students.
    • Salary costs can be allocated to more than one staff member (e.g. Research Assistant) who may be working part time on the proposed project and other concomitant projects in the same or another host institution. This may be the case for interdisciplinary projects.
    • Please note that salary contributions are not to be used to supplement or replace salary funding for core staff provided by HEFCE/UKRI or the NHS. Full salary cost justifications are required in your application. Please ask us if in doubt before submitting your application.
    • Salary costs of core funded staff are only covered (pro rata) in the exceptional circumstances that their time needs to be "bought out" partially or in full from other duties such as teaching or clinical work to allow them to dedicate time to directly carrying out the proposed project (i.e. directly carrying out laboratory work, conducting field work, etc.). 
    • Project consumables.
    • Any other direct costs of the project, such as a contribution towards equipment solely needed for the proposed research project.
    • The cost of outsourcing project work to contract research organisations which provide specific input on a fee-for-service basis. Appropriate justification should be provided in your application, and contractors will have no potential claim over any arising IP.

    Does the award pay for indirect costs?

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    No, it doesn't. Our funding can only pay for the direct costs of the project. 

    However, Sight Research UK is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities, and an NIHR Non-Commercial Partner which means that grant holders can apply for indirect costs from other sources, depending on the nature of the research:

    What projects are not eligible for the award?

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    • Projects with no clear pathway to patient benefit.
    • PhD studentships.
    • Salaries of staff between posts/funding (i.e. as “bridging” funds).
    • General consumables.
    • General support for a research group.
    • The development of software.
    • The development of non-therapeutic or non-diagnostic devices.

    What is the application assessment process?

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    Applications are accepted all year-round and will be assessed annually as follows:

    • There is only one stage for applications to this scheme. 
    • After each application deadline (annually), the Sight Research UK Grants Team carries out a first assessment to check eligibility criteria. All eligible applications are submitted to our Seed Panel.
    • Trustees Board: Scoring and recommendations from our Seed Panel are discussed by Board of Trustees, who decide which projects should be funded according to which projects are highest scoring and align most closely with our research strategy.
    • Feedback: Following the Board of Trustees’ decision, the Grants Team provides feedback to all applicants, whether successful or unsuccessful. Grant Award contracts are issued to all successful candidates and the Grants Team liaises with the award holders throughout the life of the award.

    For all enquiries about our research funding, please contact or call 0117 325 7757.