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 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:
June 29, 2020
Estimated Publication Date of Funding Opportunity Announcement:
July 28, 2020
First Estimated Application Due Date:
October 15, 2020
Earliest Estimated Award Date:
July 20, 2021
Earliest Estimated Start Date:
July 20, 2021
Related Announcements


Issued by

National Eye Institute (NEI)


The NEI intends to promote a new initiative by publishing a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to solicit applications for research on 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 will 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 July 2020 with an expected application due date in October 2020.

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

Research Initiative Details

The NEI Audacious Goals Initiative (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 to form 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

Non-human primate 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 and will receive priority consideration.


Funding Information
Estimated Total Funding
Expected Number of Awards
Estimated Award Ceiling
Primary CFDA Numbers


Anticipated Eligible Organizations
Public/State Controlled Institution of Higher Education
Private Institution of Higher Education
Nonprofit with 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institution of Higher Education)
Small Business
For-Profit Organization (Other than Small Business)
Indian/Native American Tribal Government (Federally Recognized)
State Government
County governments
Indian/Native American Tribally Designated Organization (Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
Indian/Native American Tribal Government (Other than Federally Recognized)
Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government
U.S. Territory or Possession
Independent school districts
Public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities
Regional Organization
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entity (Foreign Organization)

Applications are not being solicited at this time.


Please direct all inquiries to:

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

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