Implementation Research Grant

The American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF) awards Implementation Research (IR) Grants as part of its mission to advance the science of occupational therapy to support people's full participation in meaningful life activities.

It is well known, and cited, that it takes an average of 17 years for practitioners to adopt new medical evidence into widespread health care practice. There are many reasons for this long delay. One outcome is clear. Delays and barriers that omit new evidence from practice decrease the quality of care, diminish efficacy, increase costs and exacerbates harm to patients and overall societal health. To address the research-to-practice gap, its causes, costs and consequences, AOTF is funding new grants that examine barriers to implementation, determine how to more efficiently deliver evidence-based practice in the practice setting, address scaling up smaller pilot research studies into larger health systems, measure performance within a practice setting, and develop methods to measure successful implementation.

Implementation Research. This area of research is going to be the next big contributor to the transformation in health care delivery.

Implementation Research Grant RFP

 Letters of Intent Submissions open 9/15/19! Register to submit your LOI at: https://aotf.smapply.io/.



There are two options for an Implementation Research Grant.

Justification for either stream should be clearly included in the Timeline/Work Plan and Budget Justification.

IR Pilot Study Option #1: 

Includes pilot studies examining an occupational therapy-related question in Implementation Research 

Funding Required: $100,000 per grant. These studies may run up to 2 years.

IR Pilot Study Option #2: 

Includes pilot studies examining an occupational therapy-related question in Implementation Research

Funding Required: $50,000 per grant. These studies may run up to 1 year.  


AOTF IR Ideal Target

The AOTF IR is ideally targeted to principal investigators who do not currently have substantial extramural research awards as an independent principal investigator (e.g., R01, PCORI, Research Program Project Grant, Veterans Administration Merit Award, Field-Initiated Project). Typically, the principal investigator (PI) will have a funding history associated with early stage, emerging, or early midcareer investigators that may include small research grants and training related or mentored career awards. The PI must also have a commitment from an experienced research mentor who has an established record of substantial extramural grant funding, peer-reviewed publications, and supervision and mentoring of researchers. Eligible applicants are not required to be occupational therapists.  However, as the goal of this grant is to improve care in the domain of occupational therapy, the research application must have an occupational therapist(s) as key personnel and he/she must be an integral part of the design and execution of the project.  Further, the PI must explain how the proposed project is aligned with the OT scope of practice or emerging practice area. Co-PI applications are accepted as long as an OT is one of the Co-PIs.

Projects submitted for funding should include one or more stages of implementation of an evidence-based program into a specific clinical practice and/or method to assist practitioners, patients, caregivers, health systems, and additional members of trans-disciplinary teams to develop and implement best evidence into their practice. These activities can be aimed at a specific clinical situation in a single practice setting with the purpose of improving practice at that site.  This funding application strongly encourages this type of application.  The application can also assess activities to improve methods to develop and implement programs into practice on a more global level.

Implementation research must be grounded in the needs of clinicians, patients, caregivers and/or health systems.  Hence, stakeholders must be an integral part of the development and execution of the proposed project.  To this end, all projects must include stakeholder partners who are explicitly and clearly integrated into the planning and implementation of the project. Preference will be given to projects that have at least one stakeholder as a Co-Investigator.

The Implementation Research grant program receives major funding from The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT®). 

Timeline for 2019-2020 Grant

August 2019

  • August 16  -- RFP announced
  • RFA and award guidelines are posted on AOTF website. Review the research priorities, objectives, approaches, and eligibility criteria found in the RFA.
  • Review award guidelines.
  • Develop the initial framework for a Letter of Intent and an application.

September 2019

  • September 15: Online submission site for Letter of Intent opens. Register to submit your LOI at: https://aotf.smapply.io/.

October 2019

  • October 15 11:59 p.m. CST  Online submission site for Letter of Intent deadline.

November 2019

  • November 11. Invitations to submit an application are extended to principal investigros who meet eligibility criteria and whose LOI is accepted by AOTF. Invitees can begin application.

December 2019

  • December 2: 11:59 a.m. Application deadline

March 2020

  • Summary statements and award notifications are sent to applicants.