Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for NEI Audacious Goals Initiative: Translation-Enabling Models to Evaluate Survival and Integration of Regenerated Neurons in the Visual System (U24)

Notice Number: NOT-EY-17-009

Key Dates
Release Date:  August 15, 2017

Estimated Publication Date of Announcement:  October 2017
First Estimated Application Due Date:   January 2018
Earliest Estimated Award Date:  July 2018
Earliest Estimated Start Date:  August 2018

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Eye Institute (NEI)


The National Eye Institute (NEI) intends to advance the Audacious Goals Initiative (AGI) by publishing a new Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to solicit applications using in vivo models for translation-enabling research related to neural regeneration in the visual system.

The complexity of generating new models and testing molecular or cell-based therapies is expected to require collaborative teams with complementary expertise. This Notice is being provided to allow potential applicants sufficient time to develop meaningful collaborations and responsive projects. 

The FOA is expected to be published in October 2017 with an application due date in January 2018.

This FOA will use the U24 activity code. Details of the planned FOA are provided below.

Research Initiative Details

The NEI AGI is aimed at restoring vision through the regeneration of neurons in the visual system, with special emphasis on photoreceptors and retinal ganglion cells. Significant obstacles are expected in translating recent advances from current animal models of neural regeneration toward potential therapeutic approaches in humans. The purpose of this FOA is to encourage research that evaluates the survival and functional integration of regenerated neurons in translation-enabling, in vivo models that are closer to human anatomy and physiology.

This Notice encourages investigators and collaborative teams with expertise in the structure and function of the human visual system, diseases of the visual system, stem cell biology and/or gene therapy to consider applying for this new FOA.

The areas of research encouraged in this initiative include:

  • replacing retinal neurons using transplantation of stem cells or stem-cell derivatives
  • converting endogenous cell types into new retinal neurons
  • generating translation-enabling models of blinding retinal diseases that might be candidates for cell replacement therapy in humans
  • evaluating the anatomical and physiological integration of replacement cells into existing circuits

Projects advancing in vivo models for evaluating survival and integration of regenerated photoreceptors or retinal ganglion cells that enable preclinical development and clinical testing of potential human therapies are strongly encouraged.



Please direct all inquiries to:

Thomas Greenwell, PhD
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Telephone: 301-451-2020