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|Research Funding Guide|
The following organizations have interest in funding orthotics and prosthetics research. Below, you will find brief descriptions of each organization.
Links to each organization's website are provided for additional details and the most current information.
American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA)/Center for Orthotic and Prosthetic Learning and Outcomes/Evidence-Based Practice (COPL)
AOPA works in conjunction with COPL and its Board of Directors to offer Pilot Grant Awards to address several orthotic and prosthetic research priorities. Preference is given to proposals that address evidence-based clinical application in orthotics and prosthetics, and those that will eventually lead to larger trials. In recent years, the association has awarded several one-year grants at two funding levels.
National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR)
NIDILRR's mission is to generate new knowledge and to promote its effective use to improve the abilities of individuals with disabilities to perform activities of their choice in the community, and to expand society's capacity to provide full opportunities and accommodations for its citizens with disabilities. NIDILRR plays a unique role in that its target population includes all disability types and all age groups. While other federal research entities fund prevention, cure, and acute rehabilitation research, NIDILRR invests in rehabilitation research that is tied more closely to longer-term outcomes, such as independence, community participation, and employment.
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
NIH includes 27 institutes and centers, each focusing on a different area of health research. Several institutes and centers have an interests in and fund research on orthotics and prosthetics, particularlythe Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and its National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR).The NCMRR coordinates activities across NIH and focuses on research to enhance health forpeople with physical disabilities. NIH offers numerous funding opportunities, including Training Grants and Fellowships (T and F series), Career Development Awards (K series), Research Grants (R series), and Program/Center Grants (P series). Different series have different application requirements and submission dates; those interested should check the NIH Grants and Funding website for specific information.
National Science Foundation (NSF)
The NSF is an independent federal agency created by Congress "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense..." NSF is vital because they support basic research and people to create knowledge that transforms the future. NSF is the only federal agency whose mission includes support for all fields of fundamental science and engineering. They are tasked with keeping the United States at the leading edge of discovery in areas from astronomy to geology to zoology. In addition to funding research in the traditional academic areas, the agency also supports "high-risk, high pay-off" ideas, novel collaborations and numerous projects that may seem like science fiction today, but which the public will take for granted tomorrow. And in every case, they ensure that research is fully integrated with education so that today's revolutionary work will also be training tomorrow's top scientists and engineers.
Orthotic and Prosthetic Education and Research Foundation (OPERF)
OPERF is an independent foundation for scientific research and education in orthotics and prosthetics. OPERF aims to advance and raise the standards in orthotic and prosthetic education and research. OPERF offers research awards at different levels, including resident travel awards, graduate research fellowships, and investigator-initiated small grants. OPERF research awards are typically offered on an annual basis. OPERF also awards prizes for accomplished researchers and clinicians, scholarships for students, and educator awards.
US Department of Defense (DOD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP)
The DOD CDMRP funds research in a number of biomedical areas to address the needs of the American public, the military, and Congress. One program that specifically aligns with orthotics and prosthetics research is the Orthotics and Prosthetics Outcomes Research Program (OPORP). The OPORP was established by Congress in Fiscal Year 2014, and has received a total of $75M in appropriations since its inception. A research funding strategy is developed for each annual appropriation, and thus the award mechanisms and focus areas can change each year. In general, the OPORP supports research that evaluates orthoses and/or prostheses using patient-centric outcomes relevant to Service members, Veterans, and other individuals with limb loss and/or limb impairment. The intent of this research is to generate clinically useful evidence that will enhance and optimize patient outcomes.
More information on the OPORP, including current funding opportunities and the program's strategic plan, are available at: https://cdmrp.army.mil/oporp/default.
US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Research and Development
The VA Office of Research and Development focuses specifically on Veterans' healthcare needs. The VA Rehabilitation R&D Service funds a number of research projects in rehabilitation science, including prosthetics and orthotics. Principal investigators on VA studies must have at least a 5/8ths VA appointment while co-investigators are encouraged, but not required, to have a VA appointment. The Career Development Award (CDA) provides mentored research opportunities for junior researchers. Candidates for a CDA do not need to have a VA appointment at the time of application, but they do need to have a nomination from a VA facility and identify a VA mentor. Applications for all VA award mechanisms are accepted twice per year.