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 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. 

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 American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and the St. Catherine Challenge.  

Eligibility Criteria

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. PST.
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.

Coming soon!
Request for Application (RFA)

  • Request for Applications 
  • FAQ's

Letter of Intent: Opens Aug. 14, 2024

Full Applications: Opens Oct. 16, 2024

  • Full Applications Instructions

See new OT research priorities.

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

Intervention Research Grant Recipients

Research from Past IRG Grants

Alex Wong, PhD, DPhil, OT, CRC, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, 2020 AOTF IRG recipient for Feasibility of Mobile Self-Management Intervention for Mild Stroke used the AOTF IRG funding for collecting pilot data for a future R01 application and was awarded federal funding to develop and test mobile cognitive assessments for stroke rehabilitation at an NIH-funded mobile rehabilitation center (C-STAR).

Annemarie Connor, PhD, OTR/L, Florida Gulf Coast University, 2019 AOTF IRG recipient for Peer-mediated Vocational Social Skills Program for Young Adults with Autism used AOTF IRG funding to build collaborations with the Florida Gulf Coast University Occupational Therapy program, Student and Community Counseling Center, Office of Adaptive Services, Office of Career Services, and community donors to aid the long-term sustainability of her line of research.

Lauren Little, PhD, OTR/L, Rush University, 2018 AOTF IRG recipient for Bridging a Service Gap in Autism: A Hybrid Coaching Intervention secured additional funding through the Translational Research Consortium at Rush University to broaden the scope of her AOTF funded research. Due to the support from AOTF, Drs. Little and Wallisch have been recognized as experts in telehealth, and the research from this funding was used to train practitioners in best practices in telehealth.

Evan Edward Dean, PhD, OTR/L, University of Kansas, a 2017 AOTF IRG recipient for Supporting Employment through Self-Determination for Young Adults with ASD: A Feasibility Study received funding from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) for the next step of his project completed with AOTF funding. He stated that his NIDILRR funding is “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.