In partnership with The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, Fight for Sight is now inviting applications for its John Lee Primer Fellowships, offering up to £60,000 to support early career ophthalmologists to undertake ground-breaking vision research.

The scheme is designed to enable successful applicants to go on to complete a PhD and will provide them with experience and exposure to a research environment in order to increase their competitiveness for the MRC Clinical Research Training Fellowships and other clinical research opportunities in future.

The Primer Fellowships are prestigious awards, made on a fully competitive and peer reviewed basis. The call follows a one stage application process and shortlisted applicants are required to attend an interview as part of the final assessment.

Research should be aimed at better understanding how eye diseases and conditions start and develop; how to prevent eye diseases and conditions developing; how to detect eye disease and conditions earlier and how to improve their treatment.

Dr Rubina Ahmed, Head of Research at Fight for Sight, said:

“It’s a pleasure to work in partnership with The Royal College of Ophthalmologists to offer these prestigious awards. By investing in the early-stage research careers of ophthalmologists, we hope to develop and strengthen their skills and enable them to continue their research alongside their clinical careers, to ultimately achieve outcomes that benefit patients.”

Professor Jugnoo Rahi, Chair, Academic Committee, The Royal College of Ophthalmologists and Professor of Ophthalmic Epidemiology, said:

“Ophthalmology has a rich history of innovation through research and we are delighted to offer ophthalmologists in training the unique opportunity for research training with the John Lee Primer Fellowship.  The award provides the springboard from which they can develop a competitive application for future fellowship funding for a PhD whilst also acquiring fundamental academic skills and experience.”

Dr Darren Ting was a previous recipient of a Primer Fellowship Award whose research findings have led to further funding to identify a possible new antimicrobial treatment for eye infections. Dr Ting explained what this early-stage funding meant to him:

“Before I was awarded this funding, I had to carry out my research on an ad hoc basis around my clinical work, which can be tiring and less focussed. My Fellowship Award allowed dedicated time at the bench to really develop my research project and target bigger questions.”

The deadline for applications to the John Lee Primer Fellowships is 5pm on Thursday 7 November 2019.

Applicants must be affiliated with UK academic or medical institutions but the research can be undertaken in the UK and/or overseas. Applicants must be a member of The Royal College of Ophthalmologists.

For more information on the John Lee Primer Awards, visit: or email