DONATE

Sightsavers awarded Independent Research Organisation status

June 2017
A girl standing in front of writing that says welcome to class

Sightsavers has been awarded Independent Research Organisation (IRO) status by Research Councils UK, making the organisation one of the only international non-governmental organisations to hold this status in the UK.

As an IRO, Sightsavers will be eligible to apply for grants from the seven UK research councils, including the Medical Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council. To qualify as an IRO, organisations must prove to Research Councils UK that they “possess an existing in-house capacity to carry out research that materially extends and enhances the national research base and are able to demonstrate an independent capability to undertake and lead research programmes.”*

Caroline Harper, CEO of Sightsavers, said: “Achieving IRO status is a serious recognition of the way in which Sightsavers strives to work. We seek to build the evidence base, through research and demonstration, for the most effective and efficient ways to deliver eye health, achieve disability inclusion, and control or eliminate tropical diseases. Research is a fundamental pillar to that approach, and this status will allow us to broaden our scope of work, improve the connection between research and implementation, and ensure that, when we do have compelling evidence, that this has the best chance to inform policy and practice. At this point in time, I could not be more proud of the work.”

Over the past year Sightsavers has undertaken a large number of research projects, including eye health system assessments, prevalence surveys of visual impairment,  economic research using ‘willingness to pay’ methodology, and participatory peer-led research with children and adults with disabilities.

Elena Schmidt, Sightsavers’ Director of Research, added: “Sightsavers’ research team includes epidemiologists, economists and social scientists. But we strongly believe that research is a collaborative process, so we will continue working with a wide range of academic and NGO partners in the design and implementation of research activities, and all evidence generated from new research will continue benefiting both Sightsavers’ programmes and the global research community.”

Upcoming research plans include costing studies of inclusive education and integrated school health programmes, studies of barriers to uptake of cataract and NTD services and surveys on participation of people with disabilities in political processes.

In the coming months, Sightsavers will launch a new research website, which will feature its research projects and publications.

*Read full IRO eligibility criteria

Our research centre

Sightsavers' vision is of a world where no one is blind from avoidable causes and where people with disabilities participate equally in society, and research plays a key role in achieving this.

Visit our research centre

Want to read more about our work?

Sightsavers and eye health
An eye health worker shines a torch into a woman's eyes to check for eye issues. She's wearing a colourful pink headscarf.
sightsavers_news

Sightsavers publishes new eye health research in partnership with RSTMH

The research supplement highlights how non-governmental organisations such as Sightsavers can generate high-quality evidence through their programmes.

April 2022
A man stands in a fast-flowing river examining foliage for black flies.
sightsavers_news

Sightsavers partnership aims to research the impact of climate change on NTDs

Sightsavers and the Walker Institute will explore different climate change scenarios to predict areas that will be most affected by neglected tropical diseases in the future.

March 2022
Sightsavers from the field

“A thing of joy”: celebrating seven years of the COUNTDOWN programme

This major research programme, which ended in 2021, has supported people with neglected tropical diseases to speak out about their illnesses and how they would like to be treated.

November 2021