The Intervention Research Grant program is made possible through generous grants from:


St. Catherines Challenge

AOTF Intervention Research Grant Program

The American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF) awards Intervention Research Grants (IRG) 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. 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation is particularly interested in proposals that address the impact of the pandemic on daily life. The proposed research must address questions of importance to and within the scope of occupational therapy, but, during the current proposal period, will not be limited to intervention studies. 

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 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.  IRG grant infographic

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

2021-2022 Intervention Research Grant

Letter of Intent Deadline was Sept. 30, 2021

Eligibility Criteria

General Personal Criteria:

  • The PI has a terminal research degree (PhD, SCD, or EDD) or has an OTD with advanced research training (e.g. completion of a 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 permanent resident of the United States 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.)

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. 

Letter of Intent and Application Forms

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


2022-2023 Timeline coming soon!

Timeline for 2021-2022 Applications

August 2021

  • 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 31st- Online submission site for Letter of Intent opens

September 2021

  • September 30th- Letter of Intent deadline 11:59 p.m. PST.

October 2021

  • October 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.

December 2021

  • December 15th- Application deadline 11:59 p.m. PST.

March 2022

  • Summary statements and award notifications are sent to applicants.

View Intervention Research Grant Recipients

Research from Past IRG Grants

Update from Evan Edward Dean, 2016 AOTF IRG Recipient:  "I recently received a 3-year Field Initiated Project (Research) from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research.  This project is a next step for the project completed with AOTF funding.  In the NIDILRR project, we are testing the feasibility and impact of the intervention we tested in the AOTF study (the Self-Determined Career Design Model) when delivered via telehealth.  More evidence that the IRG programs are successful in increasing funding for OT researchers!"


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.