In 2023 The Elizabeth Casson Trust refreshed its research strategy for the next five years in line with our charitable purpose 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.

Research Call 2024


The Trust’s 5th annual call for research applications opened on 29 February 2024. We are asking for expressions of interest and outline applications to be submitted no later than 17:00BST 7 May 2024.

The outline proposal template can be found here. The research CV template can be found here.

View our call here
Some Helpful Guidance

We appreciate that writing an application is an important first step for getting a study off the ground – but what does each organisation want in an application – what are they looking for – and how do you write your best application?

To help you with this, our wonderful assessors have drafted the attached guidance/ ‘top tips’. You might find it helpful to read these before starting to write, or to self-assess your application against these points before submitting.

Guidance for applicants
Our 2023-2028 research strategy

Our ambition, in our 75th year, is to catalyse, inspire and respond to the need for occupational therapy research by: opening doors into research careers; strengthening the evidence base; being bold by creating space for generating research activity, and inspiring the use of research in practice.

Our vision is of a strengthened, emboldened and research active profession, building our understanding of the efficacy, utility, and positive effect of research on those who access our services, and on OTs.

The Trust will achieve this vision by facilitating:

  • intentionally inclusive, fair and balanced involvement in, and engagement with, research
  • the production of high-quality evidence about the value of occupation and participation, including novel methodological approaches
  • the translation and pioneering adoption of evidence in practice, and
  • building confidence, competency, and skill across the profession.

We will use our operational framework to focus our efforts on:

  1. First steps into research: investments in early stage, research pump priming and proof of concept projects that can be tested, validated, and demonstrate clearly ‘what happened next’ or the potential to be scaled/shared.
  2. Catalysing careers: providing opportunities for occupational therapists to build their research CVs, develop skills and gain experience of working as part of a research programme or project, in the UK or internationally.
  3. Putting a spotlight on: future practice, evidence driven service improvement, embracing novel and cutting-edge research, supporting dissemination, and driving professional discourse.

We will know we have delivered our ambitions and vision when we can demonstrate by 2028 that we have:

  • Opened doors to research careers by funding a minimum of fifteen research pump primer awards for initiatives occupational therapists can use to accelerate their ideas, novel approaches, and proof of concept projects using our small grants.
  • Inspired and unleashed the talents of the next career researchers through use of our Doctoral studies funding, creating research ready occupational therapists in the next five years.
  • Strengthened the evidence base by responding to occupational therapists ambitious and creative research ideas through the provision of a minimum of five research grants for high quality and robust research projects most likely to catalyse, change or drive improvement from the outcomes.
  • Provided intentionally inclusive support, proactively embedding 30% of funding we award each year, to a research project focused on underserved communities or those facing inequalities (health, digital, societal, cultural).
  • Created space for the use of research by facilitating, through proactive use of our resources, accessible, inclusive, and relatable research outputs for wider dissemination and driving professional discourse.
Research Call 2023

In 2023 the Trust made two research awards following our annual call for proposals.

An award for £41,700 was granted for a study led by Dr Lisa Bushby of St Oswald’s Hospice and Dr Helen Close of Newcastle University: Experiences and decision-making processes for premature withdrawal from important occupations in Motor Neurone Disease (MND): A new preventative role for occupational therapy?

An award of £46,000 was granted for a study led by Charmaine Chandler and Prof Lisa Taylor of University of East AngliaAdoption and acceptance of Peer Assisted Learning placements – the process of transformation and culture change for occupational therapists.

To read more about these studies, take a look here.

Research Award 2022

In 2022 the Trust made a research award following our annual call for proposals.

An award for £89,000 was granted for a study led by Prof Daphne Kos of KU Leuven and a multidisciplinary  research team across Europe and the  UK: State of the art evidence-based Occupational Therapy in Multiple Sclerosis: theory and practice.

To read more about this study and its aims, take a look here.

Research Awards 2021

In 2021 the Trust made two research awards following our call for proposals looking at Occupational Therapy: 2021 and beyond. In total almost £100,000 was granted for:

  1. a study by Dr Anita Atwal of London Southbank University, together with Professor Elizabeth McKay (Edinburgh Napier University) and Dr Vimal Sriram (Imperial College London): No Barriers to Success: Safe space as a vehicle to promote personal and career transitions for BAME OTs and Managers, and
  2. a study by Alicia Ridout of Involve Me Digital Health, together with Emma Casimir (HMA Digital): Co-designing a competency-based programme to build novice Occupational Therapy digital health practice: Crossing the flaky bridge.

To read more about these studies and their aims, take a look here.

Research Awards 2020

In 2020 the Trust made two substantial research awards following our call for proposals around the translation of evidence into practice. In total almost £120,000 was granted for:

  1. a study by Dr Fiona Maclean at Queen Margaret University: Learn@Lunch: The occupation of drinking alcohol in later life, and
  2. 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.

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. Learn more about what this means for you here.

The Elizabeth Casson Trust also offers smaller funding opportunity of awards of £500-£5000 to pump-prime research activity. The award is  intended to support activities in any stage of a study/ project which is not part of an academic award. The intention is that the activity supports and enables your development as an early researcher. Read more about this funding award here


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Case Studies

I presented a poster on OT led research at the European Palliative care Research conference in Switzerland in May 2018. Stimulating, sharing and surprising captures the impact of the experience…. Sharing knowledge on outcome measures will result in the implementation of quality of life measures to demonstrate the value of occupational therapy interventions. Meeting two of the developers of a carers’ tool…has resulted in offers of help to ensure publication of this work.

Jackie Pottle, Specialist Palliative Care OT
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