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RCOphth - IGA Research Grants 2015

The 2015 RCOphth - IGA Research Award is now open and we are pleased to offer awards up to the value of £75,000; the deadline for applications is 30 January 2015.

The maximum available to one applicant is £50,000 but the grant may be divided into multiple smaller awards depending on the quality of applications.

Applicants may be trainees seeking support for a fellowship or senior researchers seeking a grant for a project. Applications are invited from departments and individuals based in UK or Eire but the research studies may be carried out elsewhere.

Animal experimentation is specifically excluded from work supported by the International Glaucoma Association Fellowships.

To find out more please contact us on 01233 64 81 64 or email us at info@iga.org.uk

Download a grant application form here: IGA-RCOphth Award Application Form 2015

Please note the acceptance of the IGA research contract is a prerequisite of applying for research funding. If any changes are proposed to the research contract, and require legal review, the costs accrued will be deducted from the research grant. You can download the Research Grant Agreement from the Research Grant Agreement section of this website.

Congratulations to the 2014 IGA/RCOphth Award Winners:

Professor Andrew Lotery

University of Southampton


Identifying novel genetic variants for primary open angle glaucoma 

The objectives of this research are to find:

1)      new mutations in genes associated with primary open angle glaucoma (POAG)

2)      to determine whether specific genetic changes predict different outcomes for patients

3)      to identify new genes which cause POAG


This research should identify genetic mutations which cause POAG rather than just genetic changes associated with POAG. Such changes give the best hope of identifying new drug targets to treat the disease in innovative ways. The researchers hope to identify patients of greater risk of progressing rapidly and so be able to identify which patients need greater surveillance and care in clinical practice.


Professor Keith Martin

University of Cambridge


Neuroprotection of human retinal ganglion cells by platelet derived growth factor and human mesenchymal stem cells

This project will explore the potential of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) and MSCderived factors, in particular platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), as future glaucoma therapy. The research will build on previous work to address important questions regarding the protective effect of PDGF treatment on human retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and the extent of protection from a single treatment. The ultimate aim is to develop long term adjunctive treatments for severe glaucoma progressing despite conventional eye pressure lowering treatment.

Over 200 clinical trials using MSCs have been registered in the database of the US National Institutes of Health but as yet none are relevant to glaucoma. The researchers aim to work towards a Phase 1 clinical trial of the use of MSC, or MSC-derived factors delivered by injection or using an intraocular device, in glaucoma within the next few years. They believe such therapy is realistic, given the widespread therapeutic use of MSC in clinical trials and the fact that a Phase 1 clinical trial in glaucoma patients using an intraocular device to deliver a cytokine known as ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) to the eye is already underway in the US (clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01408472). Through understanding the role of MSC and MSC-derived factors on human tissue they hope to accelerate and support future therapies to prevent visual deterioration.