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May 7, 2010
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director

DOD Announces $10 Million in Awards From the Peer-Reviewed Medical Research-Vision Program in Defense Appropriations

(Washington, D.C.) At a Monday, May 3, standing room-only session held by NAEVR at the ARVO Annual Meeting, representatives from the Department of Defense's (DOD) Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) announced $10 million in grant awards to vision researchers from its Vision Research Program (VRP). The net total of these awards reflects Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 and FY 2010 Congressional appropriations of $4 million and $3.75 million from the Peer Reviewed Medical Research-Vision (PRMR-Vision) program line item in defense funding plus $3.2 million provided by TATRCís "sister" agency within the U.S Armyís Medical Research and Materiel Command (MRMC), the Clinical and Rehabilitative Medicine Research Program (CRMRP), minus administrative costs.

In announcing the awards, TATRC Vision Portfolio Manager Robert Read commented that it was the quality of the proposals and their emphasis on research that fills "knowledge gaps" in understanding the impact of traumatic eye injury that have made Research Area Directors in other DOD programs, such as the CRMRP, interested in funding such projects. Mr. Read stated that, "there were initially more excellent proposals than there were dollars to spend-12 submissions scored between 1.1 and 1.8 on a scale of 1.0 to 5.0" [with one being highest score] in the peer review process conducted by the American Institute of Biological Science (AIBS)."

Vision Center of Excellence (VCE) Director Donald Gagliano, M.D., who serves as the co-chair of the TATRC Programmatic Panel, echoed Mr. Readís remarks, noting that "vision researchers have certainly raised awareness among DOD agencies for both the quality and responsiveness of their grant submissions to the current needs of our military." Dr. Gagliano also gave a Powerpoint presentation about how the VCE, which is a joint DOD and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) program, is coordinating military vision care from diagnosis through rehabilitation, including development of a Congressionally-mandated Defense and Veterans Eye Injury Vision Registry (DVEIVR). The latter may identify the most significant future research needs.

From Monday through Wednesday within NAEVR Central, the TATRC and VCE representatives met with ARVO researchers interested in defense vision issues.

The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) is a 501(c)4 non-profit advocacy coalition comprised of 55 professional, consumer, and industry organizations involved in eye and vision research. Visit the Web site at