The Alcon Research Institute

Alcon supports serious research in eye health and works to expand the frontiers of ophthalmic and optometric sciences through the Alcon Research Institute (ARI).

Alcon Research Institute Membership Charter

Article I - Name See more

This organization shall be known as the Alcon Research Institute.

Article II - Purpose See more

The Alcon Research Institute is a free-standing entity that seeks to encourage, advance and support vision research. The Institute is funded by Alcon Research Limited but its activities are planned and directed by a fully autonomous Scientific Selection Committee (SSC). The SSC is comprised of distinguished ophthalmologists and vision scientists and has world-wide representation. The activities of the Alcon Research Institute and its SSC are guided by the expectation that advances in the diagnosis and treatment of ocular diseases are dependent upon basic and clinical research carried out by independent investigators in institutions throughout the world.

Article III - Membership See more

The membership of the Alcon Research Institute will be comprised of all individuals who have received a grant from the organization.

Article IV – Executive Committee See more

It is the purpose of the Executive Committee (EC) to define and manage the organizational structure, the administrative decision-making process, and the management of the Alcon Research Institute. The EC will be composed of: a) representatives of Alcon; b) the Chairperson of the SSC/EC, c) three to five individuals nominated by the Chairperson and confirmed by Alcon and d) may include honorary, non-voting members (Counselors). The EC shall: a) be responsible for the overall management of the Alcon Research Institute; and b) select the new members of the SSC. During their tenure as members of the EC, those individuals are not eligible to apply for an ARI grant.

Article V – Chairperson, Executive Committee/Scientific Selection Committee See more

The Chairperson shall be nominated by the EC. The Chairperson shall: a) be responsible for soliciting nominations for new members of the Alcon Research Institute (the Grantees) from among the current membership; b) chair all meetings of the EC and SSC; c) act as liaison between the EC and the SSC, and d) remain a full voting member of the SSC. The Chairperson's term will be four years, at the completion of which, he/she will rotate off the SSC. At the discretion of the EC, the Chairperson may be invited to extend his/her term for an additional four years, at which point he/she would rotate off the SSC.

Article VI –Scientific Selection Committee See more

The ARI Scientific Selection Committee will meet each year to select ARI research fund recipients based on the merit of their proposals. The number of recipients and the funding amounts will be determined each year by the ARI Executive Committee based on recommendations of the Scientific Selection Committee and total funding available.

The Selection Committee will score each application on

  • Significance / impact that the research would have in the field of vision science
  • Innovativeness
  • Robustness of research plan / probability of success
  • Each category will be measured on a scale from 1-10 (with 1 being the best) making the best potential score a 3 and the lowest potential score a 30. The best scoring applicants will be considered to receive ARI Research Funds. Those whose research is selected for funding will be invited to become members of the Alcon Research Institute. ARI research funding may not be paid to support research performed by the same applicant more frequently than every 5 years.

    The SSC shall consist of about ten individuals, each serving a four year term. Committee members will rotate off the Committee at the end of their term. At the discretion of the Chairman and the EC, a Committee member whose term is expiring may be invited to extend his or her tenure up to an additional four years. Members of the SSC will originate from various parts of the world and represent a worldwide ophthalmic research community. During their tenure as members of the SSC, those individuals are not eligible to apply for an ARI grant.

Article VII –Meetings See more

Annual ARI Committee Meetings and the Podos Colloquium: Meetings of the ARI Scientific Selection Committee and Executive Committee will be held annually in conjunction with the annual meeting of The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (“ARVO”) or another major vision science conference where high attendance is likely. The committees will meet to determine the current year’s ARI research funding recipients and to discuss the following year’s agenda. The annual ARI member meeting, called the Podos Colloquium, will similarly be held in conjunction with a major vision science conference, and feature a limited set of scientific presentations consistent with a theme determined the previous year by the ARI Executive Committee.

ARI Scientific Symposium: The ARI Scientific Symposium is a biannual scientific exchange event organized by ARI in conjunction with a co-hosting affiliate such as a major vision science education center (e.g. Lowy Medical Research Institute – 2016, Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology / Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary – 2015). The Scientific Symposium will be held on a Saturday and will be held in areas where high attendance is likely. Those new members of the Alcon Research Institute selected during the prior two years will be invited to give a general presentation of the research which he/she has been conducting. The EC will also meet in conjunction with the ARI Scientific Symposium to review the State of the Institute and align on any necessary changes.

Article VIII – Alcon Research Institute Membership Application See more

The mission of ARI is to encourage, advance, and support vision research. A new system for ARI membership is being implemented that involves a self-initiated application process to request funding for transformative research proposals. Applicants will lay out a plan for innovative research that has the possibility of transforming vision care science in a manner that has significant impact in the field. Applicants will also propose a tentative budget and timeline to complete the work. Each year, the ARI will accept applications that include the following information:

  • Challenge, Innovation and Impact Statement: What is the fundamental paradigm or problem that will be addressed? How does your proposed research challenge the existing paradigm or seek to establish a new paradigm? Or, how will the technology or clinical strategy to be developed fundamentally change the way research is conducted or the way patients are diagnosed or treated? What is exceptionally novel or innovative about your perspective and/or approach? Why is testing the hypothesis or solving the problem important for the field? What are the potential breadth and magnitude of the project’s impact on science and/or health?
  • Rationale: What is the underlying logic or rationale driving the proposed research? What is the specific gap in knowledge or technology that will be addressed and how will the outcome of this study dramatically propel the field forward? What innovations in technology or approach will be necessary to attack the problem? This and the previous section should provide a cogent overview of the entire application.
  • Research Approach: (2 page limit) outline the proposed work in very broad terms.
  • Projected Timeline
  • Tentative Budget (how applicant intends to apply the funds toward the research)
  • References
  • The application does not require previous research or supporting data, but the applicant is welcome to submit any supporting materials. Along with the application, applicants will be asked to submit an up-to-date NIH-style bio-sketch, a detailed CV, a full publication list, and a reference letter or two attesting to the accomplishments of the applicant and describing how the applicant is qualified to complete the proposed studies. Applicants should submit all documents to

    Scientific Areas of Focus will be defined by the ARI Executive Committee. In general, the Areas of Focus will be:

    • Biomedical Engineering / Medical Devices
    • Pharmaceutical Development
    • Basic & Translational Vision Research

Article IX –Amendment of the Charter See more

Annually, by a majority vote, the Executive Committee may amend the Charter.

Description of the Selection of Alcon Research Institute Grantees. Nominations occur each year, beginning in the July time frame, but the final vote occurs in significantly different months: in the even-numbered years, it occurs in conjunction with ARVO (or possibly ASCRS), usually in the first week of May; in the odd-numbered years, however, the vote takes place in conjunction with the Symposium, which occurs two to three months before ARVO. Thus, two different time lines with different milestones are used for the even- vs. odd-numbered years. This is illustrated in the Gantt charts on the following page. The time line for the even-numbered years (final vote at ARVO) will not change, but that for the odd-numbered years will, depending on the dates of the Scientific Symposium. The Secretary shall produce such a Gantt chart for the odd-numbered years when the decision is made regarding the dates of the Symposium and distribute it to the SSC.

The following outlines all of the steps in the selection of the Grantees each year. The specific milestones for the odd-numbered years will depend on the particular dates of the Symposium, but will fall in the ranges given.

As stated in Article VIII above, in early July each year, the Chairperson of the EC/SSC shall initiate the grants process by soliciting nominations from the ARI membership. The nomination will be submitted on a standard form accompanying the solicitation and will contain a brief description of the candidate's work, their most significant accomplishments and a short list of publications. The nominees will be categorized as "Basic" or "Clinical/Surgical" scientists. The Nomination Period will end in the mid-October time frame and the initial nomination list (with nomination materials) will be distributed to the SSC electronically and by hard copy, by the last week in October to the first week in December.

The SSC will have the opportunity to communicate electronically concerning the nominees (the Comments Period), as is deemed necessary by them, for the following two weeks. The communication of the comments by the SSC members is accomplished by having the comments emailed to the ARI Executive Assistant (AEA), who daily incorporates these (the persons making the comments are not identified) into a database that is sorted on the basis of the nominee and then emailed daily to the members of the SSC.

The Comments Period is followed immediately by a two week Voting Period. Each member of the SSC assigns a number of 5 - 1 (5 being best and 1, worst) to each nominee on a spread sheet (supplied by the AEA) containing all of the nominees. The completed spread sheet is communicated to the AEA, who then totals all of the votes for each nominee. The initial round of voting will be completed in the early December to mid-January time frame. A Short List of nominees is then generated by the Chairman, with assistance from the Secretary, which contains the top 10 - 12 nominees in the Basic and Clinical/Surgical classifications.

As soon as the Short List is determined, the nominees will be notified of their candidacy and asked to furnish the Committee with curriculum vitae for review. The curriculum vitae must be submitted on a standard form provided by the Alcon Research Institute and must contain a bibliography of peer-reviewed publications for the past ten years. The nominees will also be asked to identify their top five publications and to include reprints of the top two or three of these. Hard copies of all these documents will be organized and assembled into binders that will be sent to the members of the SSC in the mid-January to end of March time frame. These materials will be used by the SSC in the Spring and Symposium Meetings to determine by vote the final five or six Grantees of that particular year. The successful Grantees will be announced annually at the Alcon reception at the Spring scientific meeting (even-numbered years) or during the Alcon Symposium (odd-numbered years).