Alcon supports serious research in eye health and works to expand the frontiers of ophthalmic and optometric sciences through the Alcon Research Institute (ARI).
Click here to download a copy of the Alcon Research Institute Membership Charter.
This organization shall be known as the Alcon Research Institute.
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 Advisory Committee (SAC). This name has now been changed to the Scientific Selection Committee (SSC) by the Executive Committee (Article IV) in their February 15, 2007 Meeting to reflect more accurately its role in the organization. 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. Each year, the SSC selects individuals from various parts of the world who have a record of making important contributions to vision research and show promise of continuing to do so.
The membership of the Alcon Research Institute will be comprised of all current and prior members of its SSC and all individuals who have received a grant from the organization. During their tenure as members of the SSC, those individuals are not eligible for selection by the Committee for a monetary grant.
It is the purpose of the Executive Committee (EC) to ensure that the organizational structure, the administrative decision-making process, and the management of the Alcon Research Institute is completely separated from the process that governs the selection of new members and the disbursement of monetary grants. 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; b) select the new members of the SSC; and c) have ultimate responsibility for all matters except the selection of Grantees. For clarity, the selection of the new Grantees and the disbursement of monetary grants is the responsibility of the SSC (see Article VI).
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.
It is the function of the SSC to select annually those who are recipients of the Institute's grants and who are thus named to membership in the Alcon Research Institute. 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.
Selection of New Committee Members. Annually, the Chairperson of the EC/SSC will solicit the names of nominees for membership on the SSC from among the members of the Alcon Research Institute. The EC will select the new members of the SSC annually, as necessary, generally from among the list of nominees.
Every odd-numbered year, a scientific symposium (Symposium) will be held, at which those new members of the Institute selected during the prior two years are invited to give a general presentation of the research which he/she has been conducting. The EC/SSC will also meet in conjunction with this Symposium (the Symposium Meeting). The biennial Symposium Meeting of the EC/SSC shall be devoted to: a) a review of the State of the Institute; b) the final vote on that year's Grantees; c) the determination of rotations on and off the SSC; and d) all other business that the management of the Institute requires. In addition, the EC/SSC of the Alcon Research Institute each shall meet biennially on the even-numbered years in conjunction with a major Spring scientific meeting (e.g., ARVO or ASCRS: the Spring Meeting). The Spring Meeting shall be devoted to the same issues as the Symposium Meeting except for the review of the State of the Institute.
The Alcon Research Institute and its SSC accept no nominations beyond the mechanism detailed herein. Any direct appeal will be returned with a letter stating the Institute's policy.
Each year, in early July, the Chairperson of the EC/SSC shall initiate the grants process by soliciting the names of the potential nominees, along with a brief description of their work and accomplishments, from among the members of the Alcon Research Institute. The detailed steps involved in this activity are described in the Appendix.
Each Grantee will be given an unencumbered monetary grant. The Alcon Research Institute grant is intended to further research among active ophthalmic scientists. For clarity, it is not intended as a 'career achievement' award. Upon receipt of the monetary grant, each member will be requested to provide a brief statement of how the funds will be applied. The ARI grant is intended for individuals who have active research programs; it is not a career award given toward the end of even very distinguished careers. It is the expectation of the EC that the monetary grant will be used to further the research of the Grantee. These recipients will not be expected to supply documentation of research results but they will be requested to participate in the biennial Symposium held to celebrate further the prior two years' Grantees and their work. Each Grantee will give a general presentation of the research which he/she is conducting. The grant is otherwise unrestricted.
Grantees and resulting members of the Alcon Research Institute shall be outstanding, internationally recognized experts at the cutting edge of their respective field of vision research. They shall be active in their research area at the time of the grant and will be expected to continue their active status so as to contribute to the advancement of vision research as a result of the grant.
Members of the Alcon Research Institute are eligible for nomination and selection for a second monetary grant if the following criteria are met: a) at least five years have elapsed since the individual received the first grant; and b) the second nomination and selection is based on original investigative work that has been carried out since the original grant and that differs significantly from the work which led to the initial grant.
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).