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AOTF Intervention Research Grant Program

IRG grant infographicThe 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 for larger implementation studies and support the profession’s Vision 2025 of occupational therapy as an evidence-based profession.. The intent of the IRG program is to provide seed funding for the development of new and/or novel ideas in order to generate preliminary data as proof of concept. Most larger funders, including federal sources and most of the major nonprofit foundations, require this data in order to apply to them, yet sources to fund this preliminary work are limited at best. The AOTF IRG occupies a very important niche and fills a critical gap by investing in the development of ideas and data in the early state of the occupational therapy research enterprise. 

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.  

The IRG application process is based on the NIH grant process.  Click here for a comparison. 

A listing of Intervention Research Grant recipients is available here including the 2019 awardees.



Mary Ellen Stoykov, PhD, OTR/L, Rush University, a 2014 IRG recipient for her study, Bilateral Priming for Upper Extremity Hemiparesis in Older Adults, created this video (click on photo) showcasing one of her success stories.

Boston University's Pi Theta Epsilon Chapter -- Omicron -- interviewed IRG recipients on their research for a webinar series.  

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

Eligibility Criteria

The AOTF Intervention Research Grant (IRG) is 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. The PI must be a credentialed occupational therapist (or a non-OT investigator with a primary academic appointment in an occupational therapy department).  See the RFA below for more information.

New for this year's grant cycle! 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. 

2019-2020 Intervention Research Grant Guidelines 
2019-2020 IRG Instructions

Timeline for 2020-2021 Applications

May 2020

  • May 1st— 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.

July 2020

  • July 15th— Online submission site for Letter of Intent opens.

August 2020

  • August 31st— Letter of Intent deadline 11:59 p.m. PST.

September 2020

  • September 15th— 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.

November 2020

  • November 30th— Application deadline 11:59 p.m. PST.

March 2021

  • Summary statements and award notifications are sent to applicants.