AOTF Intervention Research Grant Program

The American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF) awards Intervention Research Grants as part of its mission to advance the science of occupational therapy to support people's full participation in meaningful life activities.The purpose of this grant program is to lay the necessary groundwork for larger intervention studies and support the profession's Centennial Vision of occupational therapy as science-driven and evidence-based. The Intervention Research Grant program receives major funding from The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT®), the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), and the St. Catherine Challenge.  A listing of Intervention Research Grant recipients is available here. 

Contact AOTF Director of Research Dr. Julie Bass  (,  if you have any questions.


Pilot/Feasibility/Planning Grant Descriptions 

Background of the AOTF Intervention Research Grant Program 

About the 2015-2016 Funding Priorities for Intervention Research 

About the Eligibility Criteria for Investigators 

About the Process and Timeline for 2015-2016 Applications 

About the Components of the 2015-2015 Letter of Intent and Application 

About the Key Review Criteria for 2015-2016 Applications


Eligibility and Letter of Intent will be open July 15.


Thank you to our major sponsors: 


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Background of the AOTF Intervention Research Grant Program

The Intervention Research Grant Program was launched in 2013 with major funding from the American Occupational Therapy Association. The funding priorities for the first year of the program were autism spectrum disorders and health issues related to aging. Five grants were awarded in 2013-2014 and seven grants were awarded in 2014-2015. 

About the 2015-2016 Funding Priorities for Intervention Research


What are the research priorities for the 2015-2016 funding cycle?
The AOTF/AOTA Occupational Therapy Research Agenda was used to establish the funding priorities. (American Occupational Therapy Association and American Occupational Therapy Foundation, 2011).

Research Category

Intervention -- preventive, restorative, compensatory: to promote function/wellness in people of all ages--those without disabilities, those with (or at risk for) disabilities , and/or those with chronic health problems. 

Research Goals

  • Devise a taxonomy of occupational therapy/rehabilitative interventions (so that the content of occupational therapy can be uniformly described.) 
  • Evaluate the efficacy of occupational therapy interventions (in controlled conditions).

  • Create novel, theory-based interventions for promoting activity/participation/occupation and improving quality of life. 

  • Determine a means of evaluating the outcomes of occupational therapy interventions and prevention strategies in an interdisciplinary and translational context. 

Research Priorities

Application of interventions that:

  1. Are client-centered (i.e. personalized)
  2. Manipulate an occupational therapy modality/method (i.e. use as the method change):
  3. Are theory-driven (e.g. motor learning theory, self-efficacy theory)
  4. Are manualized (i.e. structured and hence replicable)
  5. Involve a priority population, defined as a subpopulation of concern both to society and to the field of occupational therapy and its interventions (see Addendum).

Addendum: Priority populations, including individuals desiring to enhance their occupational function and health and those who live with:

  1. Developmental disorders (e.g. autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities)
  2. Physical impairments (e.g. stroke, obesity, cancer, spinal cord injuries, hand injuries, work injuries) 
  3. Cognitive impairments (e.g. dementia, traumatic brain injury, stroke)
  4. Mental disorders (e.g. depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, persistent mental illness)
  5. Chronic health conditions (e.g. arthritis, diabetes, heart disease) or 
  6. People with preventable secondary conditions (e.g. diabetic neuropathy, decubitus ulcers, social isolation, sedentary lifestyle).

American Occupational Therapy Association & American Occupational Therapy Foundation (2011). Occupational therapy research agenda. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, 31(2): 52-54. doi: 10.3928/15394492-20110118-01. 

American Occupational Therapy Association & American Occupational Therapy Foundation (2011) Occupational therapy research agenda. American Journal of Occupational Therapy,  65(Suppl), S4-S7, doi:10.5014/ajot.2011.65S4. 

    What are the objectives of this intervention research initiative?

    • Lay the necessary groundwork for larger studies to evaluate the effectiveness of occupational therapy interventions on occupation, participation, and health.
    • Align with future funding priorities and intended sources of funding.
    • Develop interventions that are client-centered, occupation-based, theory-driven, and manualized.
    • Lead to efficacy (research under tightly controlled conditions) or effectiveness (research under real-world conditions) trials.
    • Cultivate interdisciplinary research teams and partner with communities.
    • Include underserved and diverse populations in research.
    • Mentor new investigators and researchers.  NOTE: For the 2015-2016 grant cycle, new requirements have been added related to this objective.
    • Lay the necessary groundwork for larger intervention studies to evaluate the effectiveness of occupational therapy interventions on occupation, participation, and health.
    • Align with future funding priorities and identify intended sources of funding.
    • Examples: 

      What are the available awards for this intervention research initiative?

      • One year non-renewable proposals for up to $50K (including indirect costs) will be considered.
      • Indirect expenses will be funded up to the level of 10%.
      • Funds will be released in 2016 on a payment schedule identified by AOTF.  

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        About the Eligibility Criteria for Investigators


        What are the eligibility criteria for the principal investigator (PI)?

        • Track record of achievements related to the proposed project.
        • The PI must be employed by a U.S. domestic, public or private, non-profit organization/institution that is eligible to receive Foundation research grants. The sponsoring organization/institution assures that they will be accountable for the funds and provide the PI with adequate institutional support, equipment, and other physical resources necessary to conduct the research and contribute to probability of success. 
        • History of managing grants as a principal investigator or co-principal investigator.
        • Publications in peer-reviewed journals. 
        • AOTA member (or co-investigator who is an AOTA member).
        • U.S. citizen or non-citizen national of the United States OR admitted for permanent residence OR applied for permanent residence. (For non-citizens, the applicant organization must have policies in place to determine whether residence status or visa status will allow completion of the research.)
        • Occupational therapist (or co-investigator who is an occupational therapist).
        • No conflicts of interest that result in ineligibility, including:
          • AOTF or AOTF board or staff member
          • AOTF Research Commission member

        What are the eligibility criteria for co-investigators?

        • Established clinical and community partners and interdisciplinary team members who are central to the aims of the proposed project.
        • Relevant and documented experiences and expertise.
        • New or early stage researchers must be formally linked with experienced PI or established research lab. 

        About the Process and Timeline for 2015-2016 Applications

        What is the process for submitting an application for 2015-2016 Intervention Research funding?

        Applying for the grant involves several steps:

        • The principal investigator reviews the eligibility criteria and completes the online Grant Eligibility Form. The online site for the AOTF Intervention Research Grant opens July 15, 2015. 
        • If the principal investigator meets all eligibility criteria on the online Grant Eligibility Form, access will be given to the Letter of Intent (LOI). The LOI must be submitted by August 15, 2015. 
        • The LOI is reviewed by AOTF to confirm eligibility criteria. If the LOI is approved, applicants will be provided with a link to the application. Principal investigators who are granted permission to submit an application will be notified by September 10, 2015
        • Application deadline: November 10, 2015

        Applicants are responsible for all deadlines. Deadline extensions will NOT be granted. 

        What is the timeline for the 2015-2016 Intervention Research Grant project?

        July 2015

        • Review the research priorities, objectives approaches, and eligibility criteria.
        • Develop the initial framework for a Letter of Intent and an application using information on the AOTF website.
        • Contact AOTF if you have questions regarding the Intervention Research Grant program.   (Dr. Julie Bass, Director of Research or Helene Ross, Communications Associate).
        • July 15 -- Online submission site for Letter of Intent opens.

        August 2015

        • August 15  -- Letter of Intent deadline 11:59 p.m. CST.

        September 2015

        • September 10 -- Invitations to submit an Application are extended to principal investigators who meet eligibility criteria. 
        • September 10 -- Begin Application. 

        November 2015

        • November 15 -- Application due.

        February 2016

        • Summary statements and award notifications are sent to applicants.  

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        About the Components of the 2015-2016 Letter of Intent and Application

        What are the components of the Letter of Intent (LOI)?

        • Personal and organizational information: 
        • Information about principal investigator and applicant organization.
        • Conflicts of interest information for principal investigator and applicant organization.
        • Information about proposed co-investigator if PI is not a credentialed OT.  NOTE: For the 2015-2016 cycle, there are additional requirements.
        • Principal investigator's peer-reviewed journal publications and history of grant management experience. 
        • Description of research summarizing  the research priorities, objectives and approaches to be addressed by this study. 

        What are the components of the Application?

        • Principal investigator and project information.
        • Sponsoring institution information.
        • Research Plan:
        • Project summary in lay language. 
        • Budget and budget justification. 
        • Specific aims.
        • Research plan strategy:
        • Significance.
        • Innovation.
        • Approach.
        • Letters of support.
        • Literature cited.
        • Protection of human subjects plan.
        • Inclusion of women, minorities, and children.
        • Consortium/contractual/consulting arrangements.
        • IRB approval letter/IACUC approval (required but may be submitted at a later date).
        • Human subjects research training certification for key personnel.
        • Appendices.
        • Available resources.
        • Biographical sketches of co-investigators and other key personnel.
        • Practice settings. 

        About the Key Review Criteria for 2015-2016 Applications

        What are the key review criteria for the 2015-2016 applications?
        • Significance
        • Innovation
        • Approach
        • Environment
        • Investigator(s)
        • Protections for human subjects
        • Potential for subsequent funding -- lays the necessary groundwork for larger intervention studies and subsequent funding.
        • Budget
        The overall impact score is based on the key review criteria and other grant objectives