Envision announced that it is now accepting applications to fill two additional postdoctoral research positions at the Gigi & Carl Allen Envision Research Institute (ERI). This is the fourth call for fellows by the ERI, a facility that has hosted eight postdoctoral fellows to date. The ERI was established by Envision in 2013 to raise the standard for low vision patient care and remove functional barriers by investigating the functional implications of vision loss, early screening, and access to treatments, optimizing rehabilitation therapies and developing accessibility technology. Applications are due November 17 and finalists will be notified in early December.
In issuing the call for ERI fellows, Executive Director Laura Walker, PhD, also put out a request for mentors in the areas of policymaking and scientific, medical and technical fields related to the traditional vision research fellowship.
Pitt Plastics and National Industries for the Blind (NIB) have each sponsored one of the postdoctoral fellowships. The selected fellows will be guaranteed a year of funded research with the possibility of a second year pending progress made in the first, as well as office and lab space, and access to facilities, mentors and Envision’s concentrated population of employees and clients of all ages who are blind or visually impaired.
Pitt Plastics, located in Pittsburg, Kansas, is a longtime plastic supplier to Envision that fully understands the importance of giving people with vision loss full the tools and resources they need to succeed at work. The fellowship opportunity underwritten by Pitt Plastics will involve research into techniques and tools for restoring function and quality of life to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. To be eligible for consideration, applicants must hold a doctoral degree (PhD, MD, OD, OTD, JD) in engineering, computer science, psychology, vision science, epidemiology, public health, social sciences or related fields at the time of award.
NIB is an Alexandria, Virginia-based organization comprised of agencies throughout the United States like Envision that promote and provide employment opportunities for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. The post-doctoral researcher selected for the NIB fellowship, the first of its kind for the ERI, will study history as well as develop trends in life and culture today to forecast what the landscape will look like in the future for individuals who are blind or visually impaired, especially as it relates to the workplace and employment. The NIB fellow will identify new areas of potential professional growth for individuals who are blind or visually impaired that will help NIB plot a course of continued and expanding opportunities for them.
An Opportunity for Established Researchers
Fellows are paired with one or more mentors during their ERI tenure. These advisors serve as affiliate scholars with the ERI and work with fellows as needed to discuss hypotheses, tweak processes, review early findings and consider future steps. The fellow may travel to his/her mentor’s institution for up to six months to establish the collaboration and receive additional training.
“The Envision fellowship program allows an unprecedented opportunity for established researchers to expand their programs to include the study of blindness and visual impairment. By serving as a mentor to a postdoctoral fellow, researchers gain access to this population, and the multitude of practitioners that serve them,” Dr. Walker said.
While they’ll conduct much of their research on-site at the ERI, the time fellows spend at mentors’ institutions exposes them to a broader community and many additional resources. Mentors also help fellows write Individual Development Plans (IDPs), engage in day-to-day interaction to design and carry out the research project, allow opportunities for project management experience, help fellows hone their oral presentation skills and manuscript preparation, ensure fellow integration and participation in research community activities and identify suitable peer-reviewed journals to submit their future manuscripts. They also agree to acknowledge affiliation with and support by the ERI when disseminating fellows’ research.
Individuals interested in becoming an ERI fellow or mentor should email firstname.lastname@example.org or go online to research.envisionus.com/fellowship-program.