Since 1973 BrightFocus has awarded more than $140.3 million dollars to scientists seeking new approaches to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of our target diseases. These grants have supported more than 1,000 innovative projects and an estimated 3,200 scientists who have dedicated their careers to groundbreaking research. Our funding has enabled promising researchers—talented scientists at universities, hospitals, and medical centers worldwide—to make significant discoveries about these diseases. To date, two have gone on to win Nobel prizes.
BrightFocus conducted a survey of all scientific reports developed through our grants. The study showed that the BrightFocus-supported findings are consistently cited by other scientists at twice the frequency as other research findings in the fields of Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration, or glaucoma. A third-party roster of papers considered milestones in Alzheimer's disease lists 19 BrightFocus-supported papers, six percent of the total so honored. This is a remarkable result for an organization that provides less than one percent of global Alzheimer's disease research funding. This shows BrightFocus' success in identifying significant research.
Part of the credit for this extraordinary success belongs to the BrightFocus Scientific Review Committees (SRC). Each of the three BrightFocus programs—Alzheimer's Disease Research, Macular Degeneration Research, and National Glaucoma Research—has its own SRC composed of established and well-regarded investigators from universities and research institutes worldwide. Through a rigorous peer-review process, they carefully screen and make recommendations on grant applications based on scientific merit.
The high frequency of citation, in addition to being a measure of the quality and usefulness of BrightFocus-supported studies, illustrates the ripple effect that donations to BrightFocus generate: BrightFocus-funded research becomes a building block of research throughout the world. This influence is in part to our partnership with the free online scientific journal Molecular Neurodegeneration. Through this top-tier, peer-reviewed journal, current information on scientific studies funded by BrightFocus and others is made freely available globally.
Our funding acts as a catalyst in early-stage research. The BrightFocus programs are designed to provide initial funding for highly innovative experimental ideas. Most of the awardees use the BrightFocus donor award money to demonstrate key findings that lead to later interest and additional funding from industrial or governmental funding agencies.
The funding assists the average BrightFocus grantee in leveraging approximately ten times the value of his or her original grant in “downstream” support. This is an amazing 1,000 percent return on BrightFocus' investment.
BrightFocus Foundation programs—Alzheimer's Disease Research, Macular Degeneration Research, and National Glaucoma Research—are supported entirely by private contributions from the general public and by corporate and foundation grants. The foundation receives no government grants.
It is our firm belief that having the courage to invest in innovative ideas will lead to revolutionary approaches and life-saving breakthroughs. Indisputably, the world-class research identified and supported by BrightFocus is more than promising: it is making a real contribution to revolutionary science in the fight to save mind and sight.