Overview of all opportunities

The McPherson ERI is pleased to present the following funding opportunities for our members and trainees.

These funding opportunities, which emphasize collaborative work and support of junior faculty and trainees, are designed to complement existing intramural and extramural grant programs, to explore new ideas, and to address unmet needs in vision research.


Grant Summit Program
Are you a McPherson ERI member at UW-Madison who has recently applied for a vision-related federal grant that was scored but not funded? If so, you may be eligible to receive up to $10,000 in funding for one year to help you further develop your grant application and gather additional data to support its resubmission. Click here for more details and to apply.

Walsh Graduate Student Support Initiative (Annual)
Generously supported by the David G. Walsh Fellowship Endowment, this grant of $12,000 is awarded once per year to support a UW-Madison graduate student working in a MERI member’s lab. This funding may be used for tuition remission or other forms of graduate student support (see here for some conditions on award use). Application period opens in October, with a submission deadline in December. Awardees will be notified in January and their funding will become available on March 1st. Click here for more details.

Visiting Scholar Awards (Annual)
These awards allow MERI members to bring a visiting scholar to their institution for 3-7 days, with the goal being to facilitate lasting collaborations and/or training in support of broad vision-related research (including bioengineering, technology development, imaging, data visualization, cognitive psychology and/or neuroscience, ophthalmology, and general biology of the eye). Up to four $3000 awards are given each winter. MERI members at Wisconsin institutions outside of UW-Madison are eligible to apply. This award opportunity opens in December each year, with applications due in early February.Click here for more details.

Expanding Our Vision (Annual)
Awards with a maximum budget of $10,000 each, for one year, will be given to advance vision-related research in the following areas: visual communication, visual cognition, visual perception/performance, data visualization, development of novel imaging techniques for the visual system, computer sciences, and/or bioinformatics. This opportunity typicaly opens in February or March with an application deadline in April. Now accepting submissions! Click here to apply.

AMD & RP Research Awards
The McPherson ERI is offering two awards of $50,000 to advance research in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and one award of $50,000 to advance research in retinitis pigmentosa (RP). These awards are funded by generous gifts from Roger and Lynn Van Vreede and the Robert A. Brandt Macular Degeneration Fund. Click here for more details.

Glaucoma & Optic Neuropathies Research Award
Made possible by a generous gift from an anonymous donor, this award of $50,000 is given to advance research on either glaucoma or optic neuropathies. McPherson ERI members who are Principal Investigators at UW-Madison are eligible. Click here for more details.


Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Fellowships
These fellowships provide research training and support to UW-Madison undergraduates, allowing them to undertake their own research projects in collaboration with UW–Madison faculty or research/instructional academic staff. Each year, the the call for fellowship applications goes in around December, with a deadline usually in the following February. This year, the McPherson ERI will sponsor FOUR undergraduate research projects in vision sciences, each of which will provide $3000 of support to the undergraduate and $1000 to the faculty mentor. Application period opens in December of 2024. More information available here.

Walsh Research Travel Awards (Bi-Annual)
These $1500 awards, supported by the David G. Walsh Research Fellowship Fund, provide support for MERI trainees to attend conferences in their field. Four awards are given annually; two each Fall, and two each Spring. The application period for the Fall awards typically begins in early August, with a submission deadline in the latter half of September. The application period for the Spring awards typically begins in late December, with a submission deadline in early February. Click here for more details.

Shapiro Summer Intern Match (Annual)
This award, supported by the Dan and Ellie Albert Fund, provides matching funds ($2000) for medical student summer vision-related research. The deadline for students to apply is usually early March, with winners notified around mid-April. You can find more information on the Shapiro Summer Research Program here, and the application portal here.

StoryForm Science Communication Course
Using science communication methods based on storytelling and peer feedback, this 6-week summer course teaches you how to easily engage ANY audience so that they understand and remember your research. Each year, McPherson ERI will sponsor up to 6 MERI trainees to take the course, with preference given to early applicants. The application period for this opportunity typically opens in late Spring, with an application deadline in June. Click here for more details.

Kenzi Valentyn Vision Research Awards (Annual)
In honor of a remarkable young woman whose family has been integral in research fundraising, each fall semester we offer multiple $7500 grants to advance vision research in McPherson ERI member labs, to augment professional development, and to provide grant writing experience to trainees. The application period for these awards opens each year on September 1st, with a submission deadline in the latter half of October. Click here for more details.

Distinguished Paper Awards (Annual)
Funded by our Cycle for Sight event, this award recognizes the outstanding work of our trainees and the breadth and depth of research conducted by MERI member laboratories. Each year the application period opens around September, with a deadline early November.Click here for more details.

Guidelines & Applications

For more information, or for a fillable application, please email info@vision.wisc.edu.

Member opportunities now open for application:

Trainee opportunities now open for application: