The Observatory

The Ophthalmic Research Institute of Australia: an overview

Established in 1953, the Ophthalmic Research Institute of Australia (ORIA) is dedicated to promoting research into the causes of eye disease and the prevention of blindness. It is unique as the national ophthalmic research body funded by all eye specialists and has, for many years, provided funding through research grants enabling many ophthalmologists and vision scientists working in university departments to improve the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases through clinical research. ORIA research grants have led to new knowledge and improved patient outcomes through innovations in practice.
It is common for vision scientists and ophthalmologists to work closely on projects ensuring the clinical relevance of the research.  Grant recipients have reported that ORIA grants serve as seed funding leading to longer term funding from National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australian Research Council (ARC), philanthropic institutions and government.  Collaborations between ORIA members, academic institutions, policy-makers and advocacy bodies enable the translation of research findings for a broader audience, highlighting the longer-term impact of this research.
In the last round of funding, the Ophthalmic Research Institute of Australia (ORIA) provided over $640,000 supporting 13 projects throughout Australia, covering basic and clinical research.  ORIA received applications from 59 Australian researchers for potential funding in 2020 and an additional 4 New Zealand researchers for assessment on behalf of the Save Sight Society of New Zealand.  ORIA put aside a percentage of its available funding for new investigators, an innovative approach to supporting emerging scientists. Last year ORIA received applications from 6 New Investigators and four projects supporting new investigators have been funded. Applications for grants are now open – please visit
The ORIA is the research arm of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) whilst maintaining its own independent corporate structure.