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Aiming to increase research within the occupational therapy profession, the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) has announced that its Research Foundation grants are open for applications for the 2021 funding round.

There are five funding opportunities across three grant categories to support members’ research activities from pre-doctoral to post-doctoral stages of their research career. The grants aim to increase research within the profession and build the evidence base for occupational therapy, as well as reward members for their contribution.

This year, all grant applications must include a proposal that aligns with the top 10 priorities for occupational therapy research in the UK, as recently outlined by RCOT.

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The top 10 research priorities are as follows:

  1. How do occupational therapists (OTs) make a difference and have impact on everyday lives?
  2. How can occupational therapy ensure that person-centred practice is central to how they work?
  3. How can OTs work more effectively with the family and carers of people who access services?
  4. What are the long-term benefits of occupational therapy intervention?
  5. What are the benefits or impact of occupational therapy in primary care settings?
  6. How can occupational therapy services be more inclusive of both mental and physical health?
  7. What is the role of occupational therapy in supporting self-management?
  8. What is the role or impact of occupational therapy in reducing hospital admissions?
  9. How can OTs work most effectively with other professionals to improve outcomes for people who access services?
  10. What is the cost-effectiveness of occupational therapy services?

Taking these research priorities into consideration, there are five funding opportunities via the 2021 RCOT Research Foundation grants available to members, offering up to £10,000 or £100,000.

They are:

Research Priority Grant – one grant of £100,000

This grant supports a research project that clearly addresses one of the top 10 research priorities for occupational therapy in the UK and demonstrates that it will increase the research capacity of the profession by including developmental opportunities for other occupational therapists within the project

Research Career Development Grant – two grants of £10,000 each

This grant provides support towards doctoral or early post-doctoral (up to 5 years from completion of PhD or similar) research linked to the top 10 priorities for occupational therapy research in the UK for individuals who can demonstrate a commitment to developing a career pathway as an occupational therapy researcher.

Systematic Review Grant – two grants of £10,000 each

This grant supports efforts to extend the assimilation and development of the evidence base underpinning occupational therapy.

One grant will be awarded for a systematic review focused on the question ‘What is the evidence that community rehabilitation delivered by occupational therapists is effective, making a difference and having an impact on everyday lives?’.

Another grant for a systematic review focused on one of the top 10 priorities for occupational therapy research in the UK.

Applications for the grants will close at 5pm on Wednesday 10 February 2021.

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