NEI Announces First Funding Opportunities For Its 'Audacious Goals Initiative'

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WASHINGTON D.C.—The National Eye Institute (NEI) has announced funding opportunities for two new high priority research areas. The research areas are part of NEI’s “Audacious Goals” Initiative, which was announced and launched in 2012.

The Audacious Goals Initiative is an effort by the NEI to promote innovation in vision research. In support of the initiative, the NEI challenged the NIH staff, the broader scientific community, and the general public to submit a one-page description of an audacious goal that could potentially drive innovation in vision research for the next decade and beyond. To attract participation, the NEI held a prize competition called the NEI Challenge to Identify Audacious Goals in Vision Research and Blindness Rehabilitation. The most compelling ideas generated through this competition were discussed by participants at the NEI Audacious Goals Development Meeting in February.

The first of the two new research areas is Molecular Therapies for Eye Disease, which encourages the development of new therapies to preserve and restore sight through the control, modification, or delivery of genetic information; or through the use of small molecules or optogenetics. Proposed therapies may be directed toward any tissue(s) of the visual system. Highest priority for support under this announcement will be for preclinical and in vivo animal studies.

The second research area available for funding is Intersection of Aging and Biological Mechanisms of Eye Disease, which encourages research projects that will investigate mechanisms underlying age-related changes in the eye and assess their impact on vision and associated brain functions, identify early biomarkers of disease, and evaluate interventions to prevent age-related eye disease. Applications may propose design-directed, developmental, discovery-driven, or hypothesis-driven research.

The National Eye Institute is part of the federal government's National Institutes of Health (NIH). More information about the NEI Audacious Goals project is regularly updated the Initiative’s webpage.