Early-Career Research Excellence Award

Established in 2019


To recognize and support investigators who are contributing and have promise to advance knowledge in the field of occupational therapy.


Nominee must be a certified occupational therapist.

  • Nominee must have a research-based doctoral degree or clinical doctorate with demonstrated research experience.
  • Nominee must be up to, but no more than, 6 years post-completion of doctoral degree. If the nominee has more than one doctoral degree, the 6-year post-doctoral degree requirement will begin from the first doctoral degree.
  • If a nominee has had an interruption in career path during the 6-year eligibility timeframe, a one page letter detailing this interruption may be submitted and considered to determine nominee eligibility for this award.
  • Nominee must show research accomplishments that have promise to contribute to advancing knowledge in the field of occupational therapy as demonstrated by grant awards, publications, and presentations.  The nominee must show promise to complete research that will have an impact on improving practice and health (e.g., has promise to make a difference in the field or for people receiving occupational therapy).
  • Candidates may self-nominate.
  • Individuals nominated but not selected may be re-nominated in succeeding years, if eligible.

Nomination Procedures

Open date for nominations: June 17, 2024

Close date for nomitaions: September 6, 2024
Please include:

  • Completed nomination form. Download it here.
  • Letter of nomination from nominator (must include as an addendum to the nomination letter, a short paragraph of no more than 100 words to appear in professional publications citing the nominee’s contributions).
  • A statement of approximately 500 words in length outlining the nominee’s research contributions to advancing knowledge in the field of occupational therapy and/or rehabilitation science since completion of the doctoral degree.  Statement must also note the nominee’s promise for future substantive contributions that may impact practice and health.
  • Two (2) letters of support.
  • Current curriculum vitae of nominee which must include a list of publications, and/or presentations (seminars, symposia, workshops, scientific papers, awards, and honors).
  • Reprints of two to three (2-3) publications (examples of nominee’s scholarship/contribution in field) from peer-reviewed journals.
  • Recent photograph of nominee suitable for reproduction (hi-resolution 300 dpi or greater .jpeg).

Expectations of Award Recipient:

  • Receive a $5,000 honorarium;
  • Attend the AOTA Inspire Annual Conference & Expo and make a 30 minute presentation on research accomplishments to date at the AOTF Research Excellence Symposium.
  • Submit a manuscript of their presentation for possible publication in OTJR: Occupation, Participation & Health, subject to the policies of OTJR and with final approval of its Editor-in-Chief.

Contact AOTF Awards Program Manager.

Award Recipients


Adam R. Kinney, PhD, OTR/L, Research Health Science Specialist, Rocky Mountain Mental Illness Research, Education, & Clinical Center (MIRECC), Department of Veterans Affairs


Lisa Juckett, PhD, OTR/L, CHT, Assistant Professor, Division of Occupational Therapy, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio


Beth Fields, PhD, OTR/L, BCG University of Wisconsin, Madison Madison, Wisconsin


Chih-Ying "Cynthia" Li, PhD, OTR/L, Assistant Professor, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas

Ickpyo Hong, Ph.D., OTR
Assistant Professor, University of Texas Medical Branch