Seed Award

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

  • Proof of concept research with a clear pathway to patient benefit.
  • 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.

Please note that we are not currently accepting applications to this funding scheme, but we plan to do so later in 2021. If you wish to be notified about the opening date, please contact grants@sightresearchuk.org and we will keep you informed. 

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:

    • Contribution towards the salaries of researchers primarily working on the project.
    • Project consumables.
    • Any other direct costs of the projects, such as a contribution towards equipment needed for the research project (though this is not an equipment grant scheme). If you would like to be considered for an Equipment Grant, you can find further information here.

    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 devices or software.

    What is the application assessment process?

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    Applications are invited annually and assessed as follows:

    • There is only one stage for applications to this scheme. These are assessed by relevant members of our independent Research Advisory Board depending on their expertise.
    • The Sight Research UK Grants Team carries out a first assessment to check eligibility criteria. All eligible applications are submitted to the Research Advisory Board.
    • Research Advisory Board annual meeting: Review Advisory Board members are asked to prepare for their meeting by pre-scoring all applications to facilitate discussion on the day. All 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. 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 grants@sightresearchuk.org or call 0117 325 7757.