Our grant-making progress

Sight Research UK is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities and it is committed to funding the highest quality research delivered at the highest standards. 

  • We fund research that is poised to provide new and more effective solutions for patients - be it in diagnosis, prevention or treatment.
  • We make our funding choices in a fair and transparent way, relying on the independent advice of global experts. 
  • Our average annual research spend is variable and, depending on our income, it can fall between £350,000 and £600,000. We are funded entirely by public donations and we do not receive any government funding. 
  • On average, we receive 40 applications a year across all our funding schemes and, on average, we fund 1 in every 4 applications received.

Read below about our grant making process for each funding scheme:

Translational Research Award

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Applications are assessed in two stages:

  • Stage 1: Applications are a brief expression of interest outlining the proposed project. These are assessed by relevant members of our independent Research Advisory Board depending on their expertise. Successful applicants are invited to submit a full application within five weeks of the Stage 1 deadline.
  • Stage 2: Following notification of Stage 1 outcome, applicants have four weeks to submit their Stage 2 application.
  • External peer review: Applications are assessed by up to four external peer reviewers per application. These are relevant experts drawn from the fields of translational research, clinical research, clinical practice, and industry and are selected to matches their expertise to the proposed project. We will do whatever possible to avoid bias either for or against the applicant and/or the host institution. Applicants are invited to suggest names of peer reviewers that we should not seek a review from.  External peer reviewers have 6 weeks to return their reviews.
  • Rebuttal: Applicants have the opportunity for rebuttal following receipt of external peer reviews. Any rebuttal must be received within ten days of request from the Sight Research UK Grants Team.
  • Research Advisory Board meeting: All external peer reviews and applicants’ rebuttals are sent to the Review Advisory Board at least three weeks prior to their meeting. Review Advisory Board members are asked to prepare for their meeting by pre-scoring all applications to facilitate discussion on the day. All Stage 2 applications are considered at the same Review Advisory Board meeting.
  • Trustees Board meeting: The Chair of the Research Advisory Board attends the Sight Research UK Board of Trustees meeting to report the advice on funding recommendations from the Research Advisory Board. The Trustees make their grant-making decisions based on the expert advice and on the financial capacity of the organisation at that time. Occasionally, the Trustees will offer to undertake proactive fundraising for projects that, although judged fundable by the Research Advisory Board, exceed the financial capacity of the organisation.
  • Feedback: Following the Board of Trustees’ decision, the Grants Team provides feedback to all applicants, whether successful or unsuccessful. Wherever helpful, we share the views of the Research Advisory Board and of the external peer reviewers who reviewed the applications. Grant Award contracts are issued to all successful candidates and the Grants Team liaises with the award holders throughout the life of the award.

Seed Award

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Applications are assessed in a single stage:

  • Full application: Applicants submit their full application in a single stage.
  • Applications are checked by our Grants Team. If they meet our eligibility criteria, they are submitted to our independent Research Advisory Board for their assessment. Board members are matched to each application according to their area of expertise and application subject matter. 
  • Research Advisory Board meeting: All applications are submitted to the Review Advisory Board at least three weeks prior to their meeting. Research Advisory Board members are asked to prepare for their meeting by pre-scoring all applications to facilitate discussion on the day. 
  • Trustees Board meeting: The Chair of the Research Advisory Board attends the Sight Research UK Board of Trustees meeting to report the advice on funding recommendations from the Research Advisory Board. The Trustees make their grant-making decisions based on the expert advice and on the financial capacity of the organisation at that time. Occasionally, the Trustees will offer to undertake proactive fundraising for projects that, although judged fundable by the Research Advisory Board, exceed the financial capacity of the organisation.
  • Feedback: Following the Board of Trustees’ decision, the Grants Team provides feedback to all applicants, whether successful or unsuccessful. Wherever helpful, we share the views of the Research Advisory Board and of the external peer reviewers who reviewed the applications. Grant Award contracts are issued to all successful candidates and the Grants Team liaises with the award holders throughout the life of the award.

Strategic Award

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Applications are invited with a specific focus for each grant call:

  • Stage 1: Applications are a brief expression of interest outlining the proposed project. These are assessed by relevant members of our independent Research Advisory Board depending on their expertise. Successful applicants are invited to submit a full application within five weeks of the Stage 1 deadline.
    • Note: We only make a single award for this funding scheme for each grant call. In order to avoid disappointment and waste of resources, the Stage 1 application is more robust than a simple expression of interest, and only three or four applications will be progressed to Stage 2.
  • Stage 2: Following notification of Stage 1 outcome, applicants have six weeks to submit their Stage 2 application.  
  • External peer review: Applications are assessed by up to four external peer reviewers per application. These are relevant experts drawn from the fields of translational research, clinical research, clinical practice, and industry and are selected to match their expertise to the proposed project. We will do whatever possible to avoid bias either for or against the applicant and/or the host institution. Applicants are invited to suggest names of peer reviewers that we should not seek a review from.  External peer reviewers have 6 weeks to return their reviews.
  • Rebuttal: Applicants have the opportunity for rebuttal following receipt of external peer reviews. Any rebuttal must be received within ten days of request from the Sight Research UK Grants Team.
  • Research Advisory Board meeting: All external peer reviews and applicants’ rebuttals are sent to the Review Advisory Board at least three weeks prior to their meeting. Review Advisory Board members are asked to prepare for their meeting by pre-scoring all applications to facilitate discussion on the day. All Stage 2 applications are considered at the same Review Advisory Board meeting.
  • Trustees Board meeting: The Chair of the Research Advisory Board attends the Sight Research UK Board of Trustees meeting to report the advice on funding recommendations from the Research Advisory Board. The Trustees make their grant-making decisions based on the expert advice and on the financial capacity of the organisation at that time. Occasionally, the Trustees will offer to undertake proactive fundraising for projects that, although judged fundable by the Research Advisory Board, exceed the financial capacity of the organisation.
  • Feedback: Following the Board of Trustees’ decision, the Grants Team provides feedback to all applicants, whether successful or unsuccessful. Wherever helpful, we share the views of the Research Advisory Board and of the external peer reviewers who reviewed the applications. Grant Award contracts are issued to all successful candidates and the Grants Team liaises with the award holders throughout the life of the award.

Equipment Grants

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Applications are assessed in a single stage:

  • There is no deadline for applications for this funding scheme, because the funds are not awarded from our existing funds, but through specific fundraising campaigns.
  • Applicants should approach our Grants Team by email at grants@sightresearchuk.org or by phone: 0117 325 7757 to check whether the equipment requested supports research that aligns with our research strategy.
  • If the request is in line with our strategic goals, the Grants Team will advise the applicant whether we are able to offer fundraising support at that time. 
    • Please note that applicants would need to allow a minimum of 12 months for any fundraising campaign to deliver the funding required. 
  • If we can offer to run a specific fundraising campaign, the Grants Team will ask for an application (same as Seed Award) to be assessed by our Research Advisory Board.

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