In 2015 The Elizabeth Casson Trust agreed its strategic intentions including the specific intention to support the development, implementation and adoption of occupationally-focussed research evidence in practice, demonstrating the unique value of occupational therapists and occupational therapy.

This strategic intention feeds into the wider ambition of the Elizabeth Casson Trust to provide funding opportunities to support occupational therapists by facilitating environments that deliver quality research, leadership and business training and skills development.

Develop and promote the evidence base of occupational therapy

The Trust will issue calls for research applications in line with our strategic intentions to:

  1. Broaden the ethos of enquiry and knowledge creation in all aspects of occupational therapy to support the creation a research, innovation and enterprise base.
  2. Ensure our professionally occupation focussed, intra and interdisciplinary high quality research and innovation activity directly informs, influences, and influences on the communities in which we work.
  3. Support the accessibility and availability of our research and scholarship to our local, regional, national, and international audiences.
  4. Grow and develop our community of researchers and innovators through supporting their development from early career researchers to established experts and leaders in their field.
  5. Grow our productive partnerships; professional body; research based institutions; health and social care; and other stakeholders.
  6. Support the implementation, translation, adoption of occupation focussed evidence based practice by occupational therapists

To this end, the Trust will support the funding of research grants ranging of £25,000 to £200,000 for individuals or groups of researchers. The aim will be to develop and deliver occupational therapy research on priority and to build capacity in evidence generation & knowledge mobilisation such that occupational therapists will use the evidence overtly in day to day practice.

In 2020 the Trust made two substantial research awards following our call for proposals earlier in the year. Occupational therapists were invited to submit proposals for studies addressing the translation of evidence into practice. In total almost £120,000 was granted for a study by Dr Fiona Maclean at Queen Margaret University  (Learn@Lunch: The occupation of drinking alcohol in later life) and a study by Dr Carolyn Dunford at Brunel University London (Can a targeted knowledge translation intervention increase implementation and adoption of evidence in practice by community children’s occupational therapists?). To read more about these studies and their aims, take a look here.

Call for Proposals 2021

The Trust is pleased to announce its second call for research proposals. Awards of up to £50,000 will be made for studies that address Occupational Therapy: 2021 and beyond. The expression of interest form can be found here. Outline proposals should be received no later than Friday 7 May, 2021 17:00BST.

Pump-Primer Research Grants

The Elizabeth Casson Trust is excited to launch a new funding opportunity to pump-prime research activity.

We recognised 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.

The Trust is making available awards of £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 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.

The application form can be downloaded here.

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.


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
Find out more
News & Announcements