We will consider applications for clinical or laboratory-based research projects which can positively impact people with macular disease. This may include research into causes and prevention, early detection, treatments or improving quality of life.

Researchers are welcome to submit grant applications to carry out research on any type of macular disease including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), myopic macular degeneration, central serous retinopathy, macular dystrophies, macular hole, retinal vein occlusion and diabetic macular oedema.

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Application process

The Research Committee

The Research Committee includes two trustee and seven external representatives with relevant expertise. It meets three times a year having assessed, scored and ranked preliminary and then full applications for research grants and PhD studentships, and another meeting to discuss the seedcorn grant applications. Between meetings, members receive updates and provide advice by email. They also receive interim and final reports from all funded projects.

When assessing applications the committee score on the following criteria:

  • scientific quality
  • innovation
  • value for money
  • relevance to the Macular Society's research strategy
  • quality of proposed student training (PhD studentships only).
  • potential for obtaining further funding resulting from the proposed research (seedcorn grants only)

Lay panel

As of 2022 we now have a lay panel who help us assess applications. This lay panel consists of people with macular disease and family or friends of those with macular disease, who understand the need for research in this area. The lay panel receive the lay summary of applications and provide feedback to the research committee when they make decisions.

The lay panel assess lay summaries on the following:

  • importance to people affected by macular disease
  • impact of project and how it could help someone affected by macular disease
  • whether the project is a good use of the Society’s funds

External peer review

Grants worth less than £5,000 must be reviewed by the chair of the research committee. Grants worth between £5,000 and £25,000 per annum must be reviewed by the committee.

External peer review is undertaken for projects over £25,000. For these projects, at least two reviewers who are experts in the field assess the applications and provide feedback to the applicant and the research committee. Applicants are provided the opportunity for rebuttal based on peer review comments.

We strongly advise researchers to read the Macular Society's Research Strategy 2020-2030 when preparing their grant applications. We also recommend looking at the Research Impact Report produced in 2019. We have also developed some guidance on writing lay summaries alongside our lay panel. These documents can be found below.

The Sight Loss and Vision Priority Setting Partnership set priorities for eye research in 2013 in 12 different areas. One of the areas was AMD where 10 priorities were identified. All applicants who are invited to submit full applications are asked to specify, if applicable, which of the priorities their application addresses and how.

The Macular Society is a National Institute of Health Research non-commercial portfolio partner and a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC).

The society does not accept ad hoc requests for funding. Applications will only be considered within the context of the annual grant rounds and within the deadlines set for receipt of applications.

Any queries should be sent to research@macularsociety.org.

Macular Society Research Committee membership

Professor Andrew Lotery, CHAIR
Professor of Ophthalmology in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton and Ophthalmologist at University Hospital Southampton

Professor Sobha Sivaprasad, Macular Society Trustee, Vice-Chair
Medical Retina Consultant Ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Professor in Retinal Clinical Research, University College London

Dr Michael Crossland
Specialist Optometrist & Hon Senior Research Associate at University College London and Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Professor Astrid Limb
Professor of Retinal Biology and Therapeutics at the Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London

Professor Paul McGraw
Professor of Visual Neuroscience in the School of Psychology, Faculty of Science, University of Nottingham

Dr Amanda-Jayne Carr
Lecturer and Principal Investigator at the Institute of Opthalmology, Faculty of Brain Sciences, University College London

Dr Walter Low
Trustee member of the research committee

Jane Vickery 
Lay member of the research committee


Find out more

Bridgeen Callan research group

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Every year the Macular Society funds vital research into macular disease. You can find out more about the research grants and PhDs that we fund, and how to apply.

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Beating macular disease through funding medical research and improving the lives of those living with macular disease.