The National Vision Research Institute of Australia (NVRI) is a division of the Australian College of Optometry (ACO). It was established in 1972. The NVRI oversees basic, clinical and translational vision research programs at the ACO, including the supervision of PhD and Masters students in association with university partners.
The NVRI currently has a strong focus on visual neuro-engeineering, and carries out research on neural development in the visual cortex, retinal physiology and translational research through its neuro-engineering laboratory. It has been heavily involved in the development of bionic eye devices in partnership with Bionic Vision Australian (BVA) to restore vision in people with retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration.
The NVRI has a very strong track record of publication in high ranking scientific and medical journals and in attracting both feral and philanthropic research grants. Since 2011 it has held five grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), two special initiative grants from the Australian Research Council (ARC) , including BVA, and won five philanthropic grants, including valuable support from the Victorian Lions Foundation and the Lions Vision Research Fund.
In 2014, the NVRI was announced as a node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Brain Function which places it in a research network with Australia's top six research universities. The Centre will examine the neural basis of attention, prediction and decision-making through all the senses, with a heavy emphasis on vision.
In recognition of the importance of clinical research, the ACO has made the decision to invest in the establishment of a new clinical research laboratory within the NVRI. This initiative will expand the breadth and depth of research being undertaken at the ACO through NVRI, and will contribute to the development of a strong, vibrant research environment.