The scholarship is supported by global leaders in vision research and education



The National Eye Institute (NEI) is part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), the primary United State government agency responsible for biomedical and public health research. The NEI’s mission is to “conduct and support research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to blinding eye diseases, visual disorders, mechanisms of visual function, preservation of sight, and the special health problems and requirements of the blind.”

In 2018, the NEI will celebrate its 50th anniversary. Since 1968, NEI has supported research that has led to major advances in the prevention and treatment of eye diseases and visual disorders.


Winners of the Peter Watson International Scholarship will spend a week at the NEI facilities in Bethesda, Maryland, meeting and learning from some of the world’s foremost researchers studying the visual system.




The Cambridge Eye Trust is an independent registered charity founded by Peter Watson and is devoted to the prevention of blindness and the restoration of sight by promoting excellence in patient care, research and the continuing education of those involved in the treatment of eye disease. 


Research supported by the Cambridge Eye Trust includes:

  • Gene therapy and stem cell treatment for glaucoma, the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide

  • Inkjet printing of retinal cells (first ever mature CNS cells to be printed using this technology)

  • The Cambridge Prophylactic Cryotherapy protocol for prevention of retinal detachment

  • The Cambridge Face Tracker, a novel clinical tool which uses artificial neural networks to identify parts of their face and calculate the posture of the head in real time.


The Trust is also responsible for organising the annual Cambridge Ophthalmological Symposium, a two day meeting held at St Johns College, Cambridge, which brings together basic scientists and clinicians to discuss a topic in detail.


The aim is provide both groups with the opportunity to interact within and outside the meeting so that those involved in basic science research can hear the views of clinicians and equally the clinicians can come to understand the basic science behind their practice. The symposium is unique in this respect and many new cooperative ventures have emerged since the symposium’s inception.