How we work

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.

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Strategy and governance

Research at Sightsavers is guided by our five year strategy (2014-2019) that emphasises the importance of reliable evidence for the organisation and provides guidance to our staff and partners on how to collect and use it.

Our research strategy (2014-2019)

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Objective 1

Keep up to date with the existing body of evidence and ensure its effective use in our programmes and advocacy.

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Objective 2

Conduct high quality research to generate new evidence to address global knowledge gaps and our operational challenges.

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Objective 3

Build organisational capacity and effective partnerships to generate, understand and use research evidence.

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Objective 4

Ensure effective dissemination of research findings within and outside the organisation.

The research strategy is complemented by our research governance framework that outlines the guiding principles and processes we apply to all our research. In particular, the framework states that:

  • all research supported by Sightsavers should focus on a clearly defined question or problem and be grounded in existing literature. All research should use predefined study protocols, systematic methods, validated tools and internationally accepted principles and procedures.
  • all research should use predefined study protocols, systematic methods, validated tools and internationally accepted principles and procedures
  • all staff involved in research design and implementation should be trained in research methods and have a full understanding of the subject area.
  • all participants should be informed about the purpose, methods and intended uses of the research; and all research involving human subjects, their tissues or data should obtain ethics clearance.
  • the independence of research should be clearly described, and any conflicts of interest or partiality should be declared.
  • where appropriate, the research should be designed with a disability and equity focus, to ensure the views of people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups are heard.

Sightsavers’ research is also subject to wider organisational policies and standards as set out on our policies page.

Cross-organisational approach

Although the dedicated research team is central to the research process within Sightsavers, a range of other teams across the organisation play a significant role in its implementation. Our country offices and thematic technical experts in eye health, NTDs and inclusion play a critical role in identifying research questions and programme-specific knowledge gaps, and putting research findings into practice. Our policy and advocacy team leads on developing recommendations arising from new research, while fundraising teams are responsible for identifying research funding opportunities, and supporting research funding applications and reporting.

How we do research

Partnership and collaboration

All our research is implemented in partnership with academic and research institutions (with whom we have a history of collaboration). Unlike many other organisations in the sector, we do not limit our engagement to commissioning and managing research contracts. For all our research projects we form research implementation partnerships, which include our academic partners. Our staff are an integral part of the research design and implementation, and are involved in all stages of the research process from writing research protocols and ethics applications to data analysis and dissemination. We are also seeking to expand our research partnerships, particularly in new research areas and in the countries where we work. We also work to diversify our sources of research income through joint grant applications with academic institutions to research funding bodies, and through research collaborations with other iNGOs.

Organisations we've worked with in the past five years

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Liverpool school of tropical medicine logo
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Bill and Melinda Gates foundation logo
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Our research team

The dedicated research team within Sightsavers has 13 permanent staff and five project-specific staff. They are researchers with a variety of backgrounds including epidemiology, health economics, social science, demography and systematic reviews. The research team is located in the UK and across the regions Sightsavers has programmes in. For contact details regarding specific research projects, please see the project pages.

Contact our research team

Find our how we can help you achieve your research goals.

United Kingdom
+44 01444 446700
[email protected]

Read more about our research

View our projects