The Implementation Research Grant program is made possible through a generous grant from

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. The IR grant specifically supports research that is focused on helping occupational therapists take evidence-informed practice from theory to reality in their practice setting. This research grant develops and evaluates the processes used to implement, sustain, and or scale-up evidence-based practice into routine care with an end goal to improve the quality and effectiveness of care.

Projects submitted for funding through this research grant may 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 or 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.

For All of our Research Grant Programs

We are actively soliciting grant applications that examine racial, social, and health inequities and injustices and promote social justice. Grant applicants are now asked to address how they will involve participants from underrepresented populations. Plans for the inclusion of women and minorities must be included and scientifically justified within the application or proposal. Applications and proposals should describe the composition of the proposed study population in terms of sex/gender and racial/ethnic groups, and provide a rationale for selection of such subjects. Any exclusions based on sex/gender or race/ethnicity must include a rationale and justification based on a scientific or ethical basis. Investigators should also plan for appropriate outreach programs and activities to recruit and retain the proposed study population consistent with the purposes of the research project.

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

Two Options

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.  

Eligibility Criteria

PI General Personal Criteria:

  • The PI has a terminal research degree (PhD, ScD) or has an OTD or EdD with advanced research training (e.g. completion of a post degree research fellowship).
  • The PI is a credentialed occupational therapist with a full-time faculty position appointment or an equivalent research position at the time of application OR a non-OT investigator with a primary academic appointment in an occupational therapy department. 
  • The PI is employed by a U.S. domestic, public or private, non-profit organization/institution that is eligible to receive Foundation research grants and will provide assurance of its accountability and support for the project. 
  • The PI is a U.S. citizen or non-citizen national of the U.S. admitted for permanent residence OR applied for permanent residence. (For non-citizens/visa holders, the applicant organization must have policies in place to determine whether residence status or visa status will allow completion of the research.) 

AOTF will give preferential consideration to applications that utilize common data elements and include in their grant applications where appropriate. NIH encourages the use of common data elements (CDEs) in clinical research, patient registries, and other human subject research in order to improve data quality and opportunities for comparison and combination of data from multiple studies and with electronic health records. 

2025 Grant Timeline: 


Application Stage

Summer 2024

  • 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 applications
August 14, 2024 Online Submission for Letter of Intent opens
September 27, 2024 Letter of Intent deadline 11:59 p.m. ET.
October 2024 Invitations to submit an Application are extended to principal investigators who meet eligibility criteria and whose LOI is accepted by AOTF. Invitees can begin application.
December 1, 2024 Applications deadline for grants full application at 11:59 p.m. ET.
March 2025 Summary statements and award notifications are sent to applicants.

Request for Application (RFA)

Letter of Intent: Opens Aug. 14, 2024

Full Applications: Opens Oct. 16, 2024

See new OT research priorities.

Questions: Contact the AOTF at research@aotf.org. Please note, it may take a few days for a reply.

View IR Grant Recipients