The Ross C. Purse Doctoral Fellowship


The Ross C. Purse Doctoral Fellowship encourages and supports theoretical and practical research and studies at the doctoral level in the field of vision loss in Canada.

The fellowship is awarded for research in the social sciences or other fields of study that are relevant to those experiencing of vision loss.

Amount of award

One fellowship is awarded annually to a qualified applicant. Successful applicants will be considered for subsequent funding only in exceptional circumstances. Each fellowship is valued at up to $12,500 CAD, to be paid in three equal installments. Initial payment is made at the time of the award, and the second installment is paid after receipt of an interim report outlining the development of the recipient's research. Final payment is made conditional upon receipt by the secretariat of the dissertation from the candidate and his/her thesis supervisor or department head.


Applications will be considered from persons studying at a Canadian university or college, or at a foreign university where a commitment to work in the field of vision loss in Canada for at least two years can be demonstrated. Preference will be given to graduates of a Canadian university or college.

Applicants must have achieved a high academic standing and must have demonstrated superior intellectual ability and judgment. Recipients may undertake paid employment with the permission of their supervisor of studies.


On the completion of the program, one copy of the thesis must be forwarded to the secretariat's administrative secretary, to be kept in the CNIB Sherman Swift Reference Collection.


Applications must be submitted by June 30 of each year.

Please click here to download the application form.​

If you have any questions, email Shampa Bose at or call 416-486-2500, extn. 7622

Please note that we receive a very large number of applications and are unable to acknowledge receipt of individual submissions. Only successful candidates will be contacted to be notified of results.

Past recipients

2017: Natalina Martiniello
University: School of Optometry, University of Montreal

Sean Heaslip
University: University of British Columbia
Thesis: Unhelpful Help: An exploration of persons with visual impairments experiences receiving help.

2015: Laura Bulk

University: University of British Columbia
Thesis: Exploring experiences and challenging perceptions of blindness.

2013: Caitlin Murphy

University: Universite de Montreal

Thesis: Visual impairment/cognitive impairment co-morbidity; examining genotype-structure-function relationship.

Christine Hochbaum 

University: University of British Columbia 

Thesis:  Exploring the determinants of parental discipline: The robustness of child characteristics.

2011: Adam Wilton 

University: University of British Columbia 

Thesis:  The relation between teachers’ oral language and students’ story comprehension: supporting classroom teachers’ understanding and use of meaningful language in the inclusive classroom.

Yuan-Hao Ho  

University: University of Waterloo 

Thesis: Early detection of glaucoma using new tests of both visual function and structure, and in particular, investigating the diagnostic performance of  combining measures of structure and function.

Mark Ian Yoshimura 

University: University of Waterloo 

Thesis: An ocular imaging paradigm and triaging methodology for the detection and efficient management of eye disease in underserviced Canadian communities

Judith Renaud 

University: University of Sherbrooke 

Thesis: Quality of life and social interaction of seniors with visual impairments: the impact of intervention and rehabilitation.

Walter Wittich 

University: McGill University 

Thesis: Hierarchical evaluation protocol of visual function and functional vision for seniors with age-related vision loss.

Erika Mireille Forster 

University: University of British Columbia 

Thesis: The relationships between instructor qualifications and effectiveness in the assessment and instructional intervention of primary students: oral braille reading fluency.

Victor Schinazi 

University: University College London, UK 

Thesis: The cognition and perception of space by the blind and visually impaired: spatial representation without the use of vision and urban design.

Samuel Moore 

University: University of Western Ontario 

Thesis: PhD dissertation on the history of vision loss in 20th century Canada.

James Ralph Drover 

University: Memorial University of Newfoundland    

Thesis: Doctoral research on the development of an easy-to-use, efficient screening procedure to detect early vision problems in infants and young children.

Robert McCoy  

University: University of New Brunswick 

Thesis: Research in the field of employment barriers faced by individuals with vision loss and other disabilities.

Marie Claire Bilyk 

University: University of British Columbia 

Thesis: Researching the implications of nutrition and its impact on people with vision loss.

Jason McLean 

University: University of Waterloo  

Thesis: Research into the development of an orientation and mobility program for seniors with vision loss.

Mr. Duncan Williams 

University: Dalhousie University 

Thesis: Research on Career/Employment Counselling: A Framework for Counselling Individuals Who Are Deafblind or living with vision loss.

Dr. Dianne McConnell 

University: University of Alberta 

Thesis: School Experiences of Successful Adults with Vision Loss

Anne-Marie Drapeau 

University: New Brunswick 

Thesis: Academic Achievement and self-esteem in children and adolescents with moderate vision loss​​​