In 2020 The Elizabeth Casson Trust agreed its strategic intentions and operational framework including an aim to provide funding opportunities to support occupational therapists by facilitating environments that deliver quality research, leadership, and business training and skills development.

This aim feeds into the wider ambition of the Elizabeth Casson Trust to support the development of the evidence base of occupational therapy in order to strengthen the understanding of the efficacy, utility and unique contribution of occupational therapy.


Pump-Primer Research Grants

Our pump-primer awards respond to the barriers that can sometimes be faced when starting a research career, or indeed when progressing your research interests.

We recognise that having the time, space, support and funding to start your research activity can be a challenge, especially for early career researchers and it is these individuals for whom the new award is intended.

Awards are available for £500 – £5,000 for activities such as writing a proposal, carrying out a small-scale study, buying-in specialist skills, convening a support group or network, writing a paper that enhances your research profile, etc. The application form can be downloaded here. Applications are accepted year round.

The intention is that the activity supports and enables your development as an early researcher. It is not intended to support research that is part of an academic award. Funding for this should be requested through our doctoral or post-registration masters funding requests.

We are keen to hear from you. If you have any questions or feedback on this initiative, please email Pam


The Elizabeth Casson Trust is a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) non-commercial Partner. This means the studies we fund may be eligible to access the NIHR Study Support Service which is provided by the NIHR Clinical Research Network. Find out what this means for you here.


The Council for Allied Health Professions Research has some excellent resources if you are considering starting doctoral studies. Take a look  here.

The Elizabeth Casson Trust also offers large research grants. We issue a call each year, usually in February. These calls can be found on here.  The call will also be announced in our News Blasts, along with other funding opportunities on offer. Subscribe to the News Blasts here.

Case Studies

This award has provided me with the opportunity to complete a research proposal for a dissertation project I aim to complete in the near future. The proposed study is unique in that there is a current lack of evidence within the area of functional neurological disorders relating to occupational therapy practice, therefore the interventions we provide are questionable and subjective to our own thoughts and beliefs. The impact of the study will provide a voice for these patients and give us an increased insight into their lived experiences in order for us to better inform future practice.

Sarah Chatfield, Occupational Therapist
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