NIHR Moorfields Biomedical Research Centre receives £20 million for another five years of vision research innovation

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has awarded nearly £800 million to 20 Biomedical Research Centres across England to translate scientific discoveries into new treatments, diagnostic tests and medical technologies to improve patients’ lives. This includes a new £20 million award to the NIHR Moorfields Biomedical Research Centre.

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology has been awarded £20 million funding for a five-year period starting from December 2022.

Professor Sir Peng Tee Khaw, Moorfields Eye Hospital Research & Development Director and Co-Director of the NIHR Moorfields BRC, commented:

“I am extremely pleased that we have been awarded NIHR BRC funding for the fourth time, demonstrating our joint site’s world-leading track record and potential for translating vision research though to patient benefit. We are excited to deliver our mission of preserving sight and driving equity through innovation, particularly for those in the greatest need. As we age, all of us are likely to be affected by an eye disorder at some point. The impact on quality of life and the cost to healthcare services and the economy due to visual impairment are vast. The NIHR BRC funding has been, and continues to be, a critical component of our mission to use research to improve the lives of people in the UK and across the world.”

The Richard Desmond Children's Eye Centre at Moorfields Eye Hospital
Professor Sir Peng Tee Khaw
Professor Sir Peng Tee Khaw

NIHR Moorfields BRC is an internationally renowned partnership between Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, ranked number one in the world for ophthalmology research. The BRC was first established in April 2007 and this award is the fourth five-year term to support research designed to take advances in basic medical research from the laboratory to the clinic. The centre’s broad spectrum of research into eye disease enables patients to benefit more quickly from world-class scientific breakthroughs, treatments and diagnostics, and has demonstrated a wider reach into other health conditions through digital technology and advanced therapies.

The NIHR Moorfields BRC has previously made discoveries in genetics, laser treatments, innovative surgical procedures, drug therapies and artificial intelligence, and has collaborated with world-leading partners to ensure the best outcomes for patients faced with visual impairments and blindness.

Professor Andrew Dick, Director of UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Co-Director of NIHR Moorfields BRC, said:

“The innovators, discoverers, clinicians and scientists who I have had the privilege to work with as part of the BRC have demonstrated a real difference and benefit to patients. This new funding term is exciting as we can continue to boost cutting-edge research to accelerate treatments and technologies that will mean benefit across the healthcare system, nationally and globally.”

Professor Andrew Dick
Professor Andrew Dick
Dr Martin Kuper
Dr Martin Kuper

Dr Martin Kuper, CEO of Moorfields Eye Hospital, said:

“Patients and staff are at the heart of everything we do. This award will build an even stronger culture of collaboration, underpinned by our plans for Oriel, a joint Moorfields-UCL national eye care, research and education centre, where we will aim to deliver ‘sight for all’ through innovations in eye health. The BRC award provides the foundation for our collaboration to discover, develop and deliver excellent eye care.”

NIHR Biomedical Research Centres are partnerships between healthcare professionals and academics in the country’s leading NHS trusts and universities. The centres, part of NIHR’s research infrastructure, receive substantial levels of sustained funding to attract the best scientists and create an environment where experimental medicine can thrive.

This fourth round of NIHR Biomedical Research Centre funding, awarded following an open and competitive process judged by international experts and members of the public, will support research over the next five years in areas such as cancer, mental health, dementia and infectious diseases. The new funding will also provide opportunities for a diverse range of professionals to undertake research, expanding research expertise in allied health professionals – such as physiotherapists, radiologists and dietitians – as well as in doctors and nurses.

For more information, contact Helen Khan, Communications Manager, NIHR Moorfields BRC:

You can read more about the funding announcement on the NIHR website: “New multimillion investment to help turn research discoveries into treatments for patients”.

About the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology was established in April 2007. Its purpose is to conduct translational research designed to take advances in basic medical research from the laboratory to the clinic, enabling patients to benefit more quickly from new scientific breakthroughs. The Centre is currently one of 20 Biomedical Research Centres with NHS/university partnerships that have an outstanding international reputation for medical research and expertise, and experience of translating that research into the clinical setting.

About the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR)

The mission of the NIHR is to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. We do this by:

  • Funding high quality, timely research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care;

  • Investing in world-class expertise, facilities and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services;

  • Partnering with patients, service users, carers and communities, improving the relevance, quality and impact of our research;

  • Attracting, training and supporting the best researchers to tackle complex health and social care challenges;

  • Collaborating with other public funders, charities and industry to help shape a cohesive and globally competitive research system;

  • Funding applied global health research and training to meet the needs of the poorest people in low and middle income countries.

The NIHR is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. Its work in low and middle income countries is principally funded through UK Aid from the UK government.

Speaking about the new funding announcement, Health and Social Care Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister Thérèse Coffey said:

“The pandemic has highlighted the importance of our booming research sector and the potential it has to not only strengthen health and care services, but lead to lifesaving developments.

“This additional funding will harness the UK's world leading innovation and allow research centres up and down the country to attract experts in their field and conduct research that saves lives.

“From helping develop the Covid vaccine to discovering world-first treatments, these centres have already delivered ground-breaking research and will continue to help us tackle some of the biggest health challenges we face, including cancer, to ensure the NHS continues to deliver world-class care.”


About Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is one of the leading providers of eye health services in the UK and a world class centre of excellence for ophthalmic research and education. Our main focus is the treatment and care of NHS patients with a wide range of eye problems, from common complaints to rare conditions that require treatment not available elsewhere in the UK. Our unique patient case-mix and the number of people we treat mean that our clinicians have expertise in discrete ophthalmic sub-specialties.

We treat people in 25 locations in and around London, the South East and Bedford, enabling us to provide expert treatment closer to patients’ homes. We also operate commercial divisions that provide care to private patients in both London and the Middle East.

With our academic partners at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, Moorfields is recognised as a leading centre of excellence in eye and vision research. Together we form one of the largest ophthalmic research sites in the world, with the largest patient population in Europe or the USA. We publish more scientific papers than any other eye and vision research site and have an extensive joint research portfolio.


About UCL Institute of Ophthalmology

The UCL Institute of Ophthalmology (UCL IoO) delivers cutting-edge ophthalmic research and education in partnership with Moorfields Eye Hospital. UCL is ranked 8th in the QS 2020 World University Rankings and rated as the top UK University by research strength. Part of the Faculty of Brain Sciences, UCL IoO attracts researchers and academics of the highest international calibre. The institute works with education institutions and hospitals around the world to help raise teaching standards and train the next generation of eye and vision health experts.