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National Advisory Eye Council Recommendation

Challenge the Public to Identify Audacious Goals in Vision Research and Blindness Rehabilitation

On February 2, 2012, the National Advisory Eye Council (NAEC) recommended publication of Vision Research: Needs, Gaps, and Opportunities. This document is a comprehensive review of highlights of recent progress in vision research and considers opportunities that lie ahead.

Recognizing that medical research has become a highly collaborative process requiring many different fields of science, the NEI director, Dr. Paul Sieving, asked the NAEC for input on how to reach out beyond NEI-funded researchers in order to generate bold new ideas and approaches that could stimulate research on blindness and visual disorders over the next decade.

At their June 14th meeting, the NAEC recommended using the America COMPETES Act1 to establish an NEI challenge competition to identify audacious goals for eye and vision research. The NAEC also suggested that prize winners present their ideas for discussion and further development at a conference attended by clinicians and scientists in vision research and include scientists from other disciplines as well as stakeholders from the public and private sectors. An NEI challenge would present an exciting, novel opportunity to expand and enhance our strategic planning efforts in order to craft a National agenda for vision research.

Please visit the NEI website for developments regarding this NAEC recommendation. If you would like to receive more information on these developments via e-mail notifications, contact us at

1 On January 4, 2011, the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Reauthorization Act of 2010, providing agencies with specific authority to conduct Challenges and thus lowering barriers for agencies to use prizes to spur innovation, solve problems, and advance their core mission. On April 22, 2011, the HHS Secretary delegated to the NIH Director (and other agency heads) the authority under COMPETES to administer and fund prize competitions, or Challenges, aimed at stimulating innovation.

Posted: July 2012

Department of Health and Human Services NIH, the National Institutes of Health