The United Kingdom Occupational Therapy Research Foundation (UKOTRF) is a division of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists.
The UKOTRF supports research that will build the evidence-base for occupational therapy and increase research capacity within the profession. It has a role in raising awareness of the valuable contribution of occupation to people's health and wellbeing.
The UKOTRF aims to fulfil its mission of building an evidence-base in order to:
- promote, maintain and restore health;
- inform service design and delivery;
- develop evidence-based occupational therapy practitioners; and
- support the next generation of occupational therapy research leaders.
The four key goals of the UKOTRF are to:
- award research grants for projects to meet the identified research priorities of the profession
- develop occupational therapy research leaders
- build research capacity and capability to create a cadre of research-skilled occupational therapists
- obtain donations for grants to fund occupational therapy research
UK Occupational Therapy Research Foundation research grants
The UK Occupational Therapy Research Foundation (UKOTRF) invites research proposals to be submitted on an annual basis. The overall aim of funding support is to meet identified research priorities within the profession and to build research capacity and capability within occupational therapy. There are two main grant categories:
- Research Priority Grant - to support a major research project that clearly addresses an identified professional research priority area
- Research Career Development Grant - to support doctoral studies or post-doctoral activity undertaken within five years of completing a PhD or similar for occupational therapists who intend to pursue a research career pathway.
From time to time, other grant funding opportunities may be offered via the UKOTRF including those supported by external sponsors.
UKOTRF funded projects - are they making an impact?
A study undertaken by Mandy Sainty, Research and Development Manager at the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, has explored the impact of eight completed research projects funded by the UK Occupational Therapy Research Foundation. The assessment provided evidence of the impact of UKOTRF funded projects, but also identifies, in common with other studies, the inherent complexities of measuring impact:
- Sainty M (2013) Research impact: a United Kingdom Occupational Therapy Research Foundation perspective
British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 76(12), 528-537.
More about UKOTRF
Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of occupational therapy interventions
The effectiveness of occupation-focused interventions continues to be the major priority identified by occupational therapists for research activity. Establishing effectiveness, in terms of a measurable result that can inform future practice, is closely linked to:
- the use of standardised assessments and outcome measures in the context of service provision; and
- cost-effectiveness studies to support the commissioning of occupation focused services
Occupation, health and wellbeing
Targeted research activity should be used to increase our understanding of the causal relationship between occupation, health and wellbeing. This will enable occupational therapists to access the evidence needed to promote their unique skills and contribution to health and social care delivery.
Service delivery and organisation
Research is needed into the organisation and delivery of services, with a focus on workforce design and diversity, skills mix, demographic trends and population needs. The changing pattern of delivery of health and social care throughout the UK means that occupational therapists and support workers need evidence to support the relevance of occupation-focused interventions in an increasingly diverse range of environments. Whilst the integration of services within the community remains a key area for evaluation, research endeavours need to be responsive to new and emerging areas of practice.
Involvement of service users and carers
It is a priority for research into occupational therapy service provision that service users and their carers are involved at all stages of the research process. Such inclusion will enable research questions to be focused more clearly on aspects that directly address people's health and lifestyle needs. In terms of service redesign and delivery it is recognised that the users of research may be occupational therapists rather than service users.
The context of research priorities
It is clear that occupational therapy research will take place within a number of overarching contexts, and prime consideration must be given to the following aspects when developing research questions:
- Gaps in the existing knowledge base can only be identified for research from a thorough literature search and systematic review of existing evidence
- Government priority areas are the main drivers for much supported research activity
- Occupational therapists should focus individual research endeavours within larger programmes of research, maintaining awareness that funders prefer multi-professional research
Current grant holders and project abstracts
Research Priority Grants
- Professor Avril Drummond (2017)
Download Project Abstract: Cognitive Management Pathways in Stroke Services (COMPASS): the identification and management of cognitive problems by community stroke teams
- Dr Yvonne Thomas (2016)
Download Project Abstract: Values Based Occupational Therapy Practice: Identifying our Professional Values
- Dr Alison Porter-Armstrong (2014)
Download Project Abstract: A pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) of mirror box therapy in upper limb rehabilitation with sub-acute stroke patients
- Professor Susan Corr (2013)
Download Project Abstract: Occupational therapy and cognitive stimulation therapy: facilitating occupational performance of people with dementia
Research Career Development Grants
- Bethan Mair Edwards (2017)
Download Project Abstract: A window of opportunity – Developing an early occupational therapy intervention for people who have dementia and their family carers
- Diana Ramsey (2017)
Download Project Abstract: How do people with intellectual difficulties (ID) experience work?
- Dr Paul Sugarhood (2017)
Download Project Abstract (2016): Occupational therapists and digital care records: exploring health and social care integration through ethnography
- Dr Joanna Fletcher-Smith (2016)
Download Project Abstract: A systematic mapping review of peer mentoring interventions for people with acquired brain injury including stroke
- Dr Mellissa Prunty (2016)
Download Project Abstract (2016): A detailed examination of the physiological and cognitive mechanisms of handwriting difficulties in children with Developmental Coordination Disorder: the role of attention, fatigue and joint hyper-mobility
- Rebecca Swenson (2016)
Download Project Abstract: Transitioning gender through occupation: An exploration of the lived world of transitioning and non-normative gender identities through occupational narratives
- Dr Anne McIntyre (2015)
Download Project Abstract: Engagement of general practitioners in falls prevention assessment and referral to allied health practitioners
- Katie Hackett (2014)
Download Project Abstract: Developing a service-user informed occupational therapy intervention to facilitate meaningful occupation for people with primary Sjögren's syndrome in the NHS
The Elizabeth Casson Trust Postdoctoral Award
- Dr Rob Brooks (2017)
Download Project Abstract: Identifying occupational therapy interventions in children and young people’s mental health: A mixed methods systematic review
- Dr Pat Chung (2016)
Download Project Abstract: Homecare Enablement Services for people with dementia: the experiences of service users within local authorities
- Dr Julie Philips (2015)
Download Project Abstract: Return to Work after Stroke - feasibility four to five year follow-up
UKOTRF Summaries of key findings
Funded project outputs demonstrate the value of investment in occupational therapy research and the contribution of the projects to building the evidence-base for occupational therapy practice.
A summary of key findings is provided below for each completed project. These include, where known, journal publication references.
All funded projects are required to provide a final project report, a hard copy of which will be placed in the College library for reference by members six months after the project has been signed off by the College.
Summaries of key findings
Completed projects are listed below by overarching topic, then alphabetically by title.
- Revising an evidence-based community intervention for people with affective or personality disorder and preparation for an intervention study grant application
(Research Career Development Grant 2014, Grant holder: Dr Mary Birken)
- How do people living with mental health and substance misuse problems experience belonging and social connectedness?
(Research Career Development Grant 2013, Grant holder: Dr Alison Blank)
- Participatory action research using photovoice to explore user experiences of recovery in acute mental health occupational therapy facilities
(Institute of Social Psychiatry Scholarship 2012, Grant holder: Dr Wendy Bryant)
- An action research study to identify and pilot an outcome measure for an occupation and recovery based service for people with mental health conditions
(Institute of Social Psychiatry Scholarship 2012, Grant holder: Dr Carly Reagon)
- A qualitative research synthesis examining the effectiveness of interventions used by occupational therapists within mental health
(Research Priority Grant 2011, Grant holder: Dr Katherine Wimpenny)
- A study of a single observation assessment tool for use in mental health
(Commissioned Research 2011, Grant holder: Dr Donald Maciver)
- Mental Health Occupational Therapy supported education and its influence on the recovery journey of service users: Lived experiences explored
(Institute of Social Psychiatry Scholarship 2011, Grant holder: Norma Clark)
- Longitudinal study exploring the value of occupation in the recovery of mental health service users within the Kawa Model Framework
(Research Career Development Grant 2009, Grant holder: Kee Hean Lim)
- Supporting workers with musculoskeletal conditions: a survey of occupational therapists' communications with patients and their employers
(The Elizabeth Casson Trust Research Grant 2012, Grant holder: Dr Carol Coole)
- An investigation into the experiences of occupational gain in people with inflammatory arthritis receiving antiTNFα treatment
(Research Priority Grant 2010, Grant holder: Dr Margaret McArthur)
- The UK-Evaluation of Daily Activity Questionnaire (UK-EDAQ) in Musculoskeletal Conditions: psychometric testing and functional evaluation
(Research Priority Grant 2010, Grant holder: Professor Alison Hammond)
- National guidance for measuring home furniture and fittings to enable self-assessment and successful fit of minor assistive devices
(Research Priority Grant 2012, Grant holder: Dr Georgia Spiliotopoulou)
- Determination of wall positions taking account of manual handling when access planning for assisted wheelchair users
(Research Career Development Grant 2013, Grant holder: Dr Brian Abraham)
- An exploration of the meaning of occupation to people who seek asylum in the United Kingdom
(Research Career Development Grant 2012, Grant holder: Helen Claire Smith)
- Development of a web-based decision aid to assist occupational therapists to make optimal fitness-to-drive decisions for disabled and older drivers
(Research Priority 2012, Grant holder: Prof Priscilla Harries)
- The effectiveness of occupational therapy local authority social services' interventions for older people in Great Britain: A critical literature review
(Commissioned Research 2011, Grant holder: Dr Jillian Riley)
- Determining the relationship between the forces applied and the space required when manoeuvring four-caster chairs with heavy occupants (100kg)
(Pressalit Care Research Award 2009, Grant holder: Brian Abraham)
- Brief interventions in general hospital (BIG Trial)
(Research Career Development Grant 2009, Grant holder: Jean McQueen)
- Daily activity patterns and the effect of energy conservation advice in clients with COPD
(Research Career Development Grant 2008, Grant holder: Dr Louise Sewell)
- An exploration of factors that impact the return to paid work of individuals following a brain injury
(Irwin Mitchell Research Award 2011, Grant holder: Karen Beaulieu)
- Description and measurement of visual scanning training in Occupational Therapy for patients with visual search deficits following stroke
(Research Priority Grant 2011, Grant holder: Dr Ailie Turton)
- Spinal cord injury (SCI) and interface pressure: using activity to maximise tissue viability
(Commissioned Research 2011, Grant holder: Dr May Stinson)
- Return to work after Stroke
(The Elizabeth Casson Trust Research Grant 2010, Grant holder: Mary Grant)
- A survey and feasibility RCT of pre-discharge home visits for patients with a stroke. The HOVIS Trial (Home Visits after Stroke)
(Research Career Development Grant 2010, Grant holder: Phillip Whitehead)
- A study of long term economic consequences of short term stroke occupational therapy
(Research Priority Grant 2008, Grant holder: Dr Philippa Logan)
UKOTRF Advisory Group
The work of the UKOTRF is overseen by an Advisory Group, which provides expertise and guidance to facilitate the College in making the best decisions in investing in research projects
The Advisory Group comprises 6 research-skilled individuals from within and outside the profession, who undertake some reviewing activity and meet once a year to shortlist and agree projects. Advisory Group meetings are chaired by the Chair of BA/RCOT Council.
- Dr Jennifer Wenborn: Senior Clinical Research Associate: Division of Psychiatry, University College London / R&D Department, North East London NHS Foundation Trust. Appointed to the UKOTRF Advisory Group 2015.
- Dr Frances Reynolds: Reader, Division of Occupational Therapy, Brunel University. Appointed to the UKOTRF Advisory Group 2014.
- Dr Lynne Goodacre: Independent Practitioner. Appointed to the UKTORF Advisory Group 2016
- Dr Rebecca Fisher: Stroke Association HRH The Princess Margaret Senior Lecturer, Division of Rehabilitation & Ageing, University of Nottingham. Appointed to the UKOTRF Advisory Group 2016.
- Dr. Roshan das Nair: Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and Honorary Associate Professor, Division of Rehabilitation & Ageing, University of Nottingham. Appointed to the UKOTRF Advisory Group 2014
- Prof Krysia Dziedzic: Arthritis Research UK Professor of Musculoskeletal Therapies, Keele University. Appointed to the UKOTRF Advisory Group 2016.
UKOTRF Early Researcher Award
The UKOTRF Early Researcher Award is available to presenters at the RCOT Annual Conference.
If your oral paper is selected to be presented within the main RCOT conference then you may be eligible to be considered for the UKOTRF Early Researcher Award. You must be presenting on the research findings from your post-registration Masters or doctoral studies, or other first piece of ethically-approved research undertaken post-registration as an occupational therapist. This prestigious prize recognises excellence in research and presentation skills, and is highly valued by its recipients. Winners to date have commented on their delight at peer recognition of the value of their research and how being selected has reinforced their intention to continue to disseminate their research findings through conference presentation.
You can apply to be considered for the award via the on-line abstract submission process. To be eligible for consideration, you must be:
- a current BAOT member
- submitting the abstract yourself
- undertaking the presentation yourself
- presenting on your research findings
Judging is undertaken by members of the Research and Development Board and the Education and Research Team using a marking schedule designed to capture information about overall presentation skills, the strength of the methodology and implications of the findings. All presenters participating in the scheme receive written feedback on their presentation. The name of the award winner and their presentation topic will be published in OTnews.
Recipients of the Early Researcher Award to date:
- Becky Field (2017): "Identifying influences on take-up of a community occupational therapy intervention for people with dementia and their family carers"
- Natalie Jones (2016): "What are the experiences of stroke survivors with managing eating in the long-term?"
- Clare Sugarman (2016): "The lived experience of parents whose children are deafblind: an occupational perspective"
- Katie Hackett (2015): "Identifying participation barriers and key intervention targets for an autoimmune disease"
- Jane Horne (2015): "Developing a New, Patient Reported, Confidence After Stroke Measure (CASM)"
- Rachel Russell (2014): "Development of an occupation-focused process for modifying home environments"
- Joanne Porter (2013): "Parental experiences of an occupational therapy parent education programme"
- Lindsay Phillips (2012): "The meanings of art-making to informal carers of relatives with dementia"
- Carol Coole (2011): "Concerns of employed patients with low back pain: a qualitative study"
- Dr Helen Myers (2010): "Musculoskeletal problems in older adults: occupational therapy and the population iceberg"
- Joanna Fletcher-Smith (2010): "An inter-rater reliability study of the Nottingham Stroke Dressing Assessment (NSDA)"
Other forms of funding:
The Constance Owens Trust and The Elizabeth Casson Trust are external grant giving bodies that offer financial support towards occupational therapists' research and CPD activities.
For further details on The Constance Owens Trust please contact: Elaine.Wilson@rathbones.com