The Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust has awarded £5 million to UCL in partnership with Moorfields Eye Charity and Moorfields Eye Hospital to support Oriel – a centre for advancing eye health, opening in 2027. The gift will fund an investigation centre that will enable the acceleration of vital research, bringing treatments to patients faster than ever before.

The £5 million investment in the Sir Jules Thorn Investigation Centre within the new state-of-the-art building will create unrivalled opportunities to advance our understanding and treatment of eye diseases.

The world-leading research facility supported by the Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust will be at the heart of the new building and enable an expansion of translational research – research which directly benefits patients. The new research facility will bring together fundamental and translational research and clinical trial facilities, new imaging and visual assessment technology, as well as access to patients with a diversity of eye conditions not found anywhere else in the world.

The Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust’s generous gift, the first to Oriel, was made to mark the trust’s 50th anniversary and will provide opportunities for deeper collaboration between researchers, clinicians, patients and educators.

This will enable the translation of research breakthroughs faster and on a larger scale saving people’s sight not just in the UK but across the globe. Aligned with the work that will be carried out in the state-of-the-art building’s new innovation hub, the funding will also help further existing world-leading artificial intelligence (AI) research carried out by UCL and Moorfields that can detect early signs of diseases in the eye, such as dementia, multiple sclerosis and some cancers.

Philanthropy is critical to achieving our ambitions to transform the lives of countless people with sight loss, and the Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust is a long-standing supporter of eye health research at Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL.

Richard Benson, director of the Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust said:
“We’re delighted to support research in this new integrated centre for eye health. We hope that the new translational research facilities will contribute to scientific breakthroughs which will rapidly lead to faster diagnostics, and to new therapies for patients in the UK and across the world.”

UCL President and Provost Dr Michael Spence said:
“I am very grateful to the Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust for their generous support to advance research through these state-of-the-art facilities. The use of advanced imaging, together with an unrivalled informatics platform to target specific clinical cohorts, will facilitate our execution of smaller, faster, more stratified clinical trials with higher chances of success.”

 Robert Dufton, chief executive, Moorfields Eye Charity said:
“Thank you so much to the Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust for their generous gift to support research facilities in Oriel. This investment in research will be enhanced by Moorfields’ access to a very large patient population with eye conditions that range from the very rare to the common, and affecting people of all ages. It will help bring new treatments to the people who need them.”

Moorfields Eye Charity and UCL are working in partnership on a fundraising campaign to support Oriel. Philanthropy has a vital role in securing the future of eye health on a global scale.


Editors’ notes:

 The Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust is an independent charity that awards grants to registered and exempt charities in the UK. Their funds are generated from an endowment from Sir Jules Thorn.

The resources provided by its endowment have enabled the trust to give substantial support to a wide range of charitable causes in the United Kingdom. In keeping with Sir Jules’s original intentions, the trust’s largest grants support translational medical research undertaken in the UK’s leading medical schools and NHS organisations. Beyond medical research, the trust’s other grant programmes support health and care services for people living with serious or life-limiting conditions, and those with – or at high risk of – physical or mental ill health, people living with disability, and their families and carers.

Since the formation of the trust more than 50 years ago, they have awarded over £120 million in grants to support projects across the UK.

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Moorfields Eye Charity is a leading charity in the UK dedicated to the funding of innovations in eye research and patient care as well as sharing knowledge. The charity supports pioneering eye health and the work of the world-leading partnership of Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology – helping save people’s sight in the UK and around the world.

It awards grants and raises money to help provide the best possible care for patients, educate the researchers and clinicians of tomorrow and support research that brings quicker diagnoses and new treatments, changing lives and the future for people with sight loss.

Moorfields Eye Charity has committed £16.8 million over the past three years to support innovation in research, care and education. See its impact report for the difference this makes to Moorfields, UCL and people with sight loss.

To find out more visit:

Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is one of the leading providers of eye health services in the UK and a world class centre of excellence for ophthalmic research and education. Its main focus is the treatment and care of NHS patients with a wide range of eye problems, from common complaints to rare conditions that require treatment not available elsewhere in the UK. The unique patient case-mix and the number of people the trust treats means its clinicians have expertise in discrete ophthalmic sub-specialties.

Moorfields treats people in 25 locations in and around London, the south east and Bedford, enabling them to provide expert treatment closer to patients’ homes. They also operate commercial divisions that provide care to private patients in both London and the Middle East.

With its academic partners at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, Moorfields is recognised as a leading centre of excellence in eye and vision research. Together they form one of the largest ophthalmic research sites in the world, with the largest patient population in Europe or the USA. They publish more scientific papers than any other eye and vision research site and have an extensive joint research portfolio. To find out more visit

UCL Institute of Ophthalmology is a specialised research centre within UCL (University College London) and is, together with Moorfields Eye Hospital, one of the leading centres for eye research worldwide. The combination of the institute’s research resource with the resources of Moorfields Eye Hospital, which has the largest ophthalmic patient population in the Western World, opens the way for advances at the forefront of vision research. For further information, please visit


For more details including images, please contact:
Bryony Merritt – or 07815688753
Clare Roebuck –