Retina NZ has an ongoing commitment to supporting scientific and medical research that leads to better outcomes for us all in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of retinal disorders.

Our research funding is limited because it comes entirely from donations, mostly by our members.  However, in 2010 we donated $10,000 to the Genetic Eye Disease Investigation Unit (GEDI) at the University of Auckland.  This was to assist with the establishment of a New Zealand-wide patient database for people with inherited retinal disorders. The same year we also supported the Walking into the Light fundraiser for the database.

Retina NZ Summer Studentship Research Award

Applications are invited from undergraduate students looking to participate in the summer studentship programmes offered in ophthalmology and optometry at the University of Auckland and the University of Otago.

Recipient Criteria

The recipient criteria are:

  • You must be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, and carry out the research in New Zealand.
  • You are expected to report on your completed project in such a way that encourages patients affected by retinal disorders to financially support retinal research in New Zealand.
  • Your report for presentation to Retina NZ must use language that can be understood by non-medical, non-scientific, readers and listeners.
  • Following completion of your funded project, you undertake to present your report at a Retina NZ AGM and Conference. (Retina NZ will cover all related expenses for this.)
Application Process

An expression of interest should be made by email to in the first instance.

Following receipt of this expression of interest, an application form will be forwarded and the successful candidate notified around August/September (for the upcoming summer programme).

Closing date and decision date will be in accordance with the timelines of the two universities offering the programmes.


2012/13:  Carissa Sutherland - a Stage III MBCHB student at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland.

Read a summary of her research (pdf)

2013/14:  No award was made.

Retinal photographs on this website are courtesy of the New Zealand Association of Optometrists. Other photographs in our page headers are courtesy of the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health.