Minister Harris announces €3.2m to research project targeted at degenerative retinal diseases
5th September 2022: Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD, today announced an award of €3.2 million to the EYE-D research project into degenerative retinal diseases, led by researchers from Trinity College Dublin. Science Foundation Ireland will provide €1.3 million funding to EYE-D, matched by the project partners.
Announcing the funding, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD, said: “I am delighted to announce today this funding to the EYE-D research project. This research has the potential to have an invaluable impact in identifying treatments that help tackle degenerative eye diseases. This project will aim to put Ireland at the forefront of international research into degenerative eye disease. I wish the EYE-D team every success in the rollout of this project. My department is delighted to be in a position to support this important work.”
Degenerative retinal diseases can result in severe loss of vision and is estimated to affect 224,000 people in Ireland, and 40 million people worldwide. The research project is led by Prof Matthew Campbell, Smurfit Institute of Genetics, Trinity College Dublin and Prof Sarah Doyle, Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience (TCIN), Trinity College Dublin.
The proposed partnership also involves separate collaborations with three companies: Roche, Disarm/Eli Lilly, private ophthalmology clinic, Progressive Vision Research, and the charity Fighting Blindness Ireland. Cumulatively, these groups will fund an additional €1.6 million to advance various research programmes focused on identifying the underlying causes of degenerative eye diseases.
Commenting on the funding, Prof Matthew Campbell, Smurfit Institute of Genetics at TCD said: “We are excited about the potential developments that will emerge from this grant. Spearheading a project with a cumulative budget of €3.2 million will allow us to make a major impact on the international stage of vision research. In addition, our research endeavours put us in a perfect position to identify the cause of some of the most common forms of blindness.”
Co-PI Prof Sarah Doyle Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience (TCIN), TCD said: “This funding will allow us to build on the major successes our group has had in understanding degenerative eye diseases. Added to this, we can now recruit the most talented group of scientists internationally and place Ireland at the forefront of vision research.”
Aideen Curtin, CEO, Progressive Vision Research, commenting on the funding said: “We are delighted to support and contribute to the fundamental research into degenerative retinal disease that this award will make possible. We hope that this research will increase our understanding of retinal disease and ultimately may lead to new treatments that will be sight saving for many people.”
Commenting on the announcement, Professor Philip Nolan, Science Foundation Ireland, said: “We are looking forward to working with the researchers and collaborators of EYE-D research project as they work to find solutions to vision loss caused by retinal diseases. The project highlights the impact that the Strategic Partnership Programme can deliver. I welcome the broad partnership involved in supporting this research which includes industry, charities and higher education institutes.”
Anna Moran, interim CEO at Fighting Blindness said: “As Fighting Blindness strive to promote patient-focused vision research, we are proud to support Prof Campbell and Prof Doyle in the innovative EYE-D project. An important strategic aim for us is to build capacity in Ireland in the area of retinal disease. This project has great potential to make significant impact nationally and internationally to bring us a step closer to identifying possible treatments for these debilitating conditions.”
The EYE-D research project seeks to identify new therapeutic treatments for Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, and other inherited diseases that cause vision loss.