Deadline: Dec. 15, 2022.
Orthotic and Prosthetic Education and Research Foundation (OPERF) Fellowship Award Program 2023
The Orthotic and Prosthetic Education and Research Foundation (OPERF) provides funding to support clinically relevant research in orthotics and prosthetics (O&P). Fellowship Award funding is designated for students who are currently enrolled in a master’s and/or PhD educational programs.
The Orthotic and Prosthetic Education and Research Foundation (OPERF) Fellowship Award Program is designed to support quality graduate education research related to the orthotics and prosthetics (O&P) profession. One-year fellowships of up to $5,000 are given on an annual basis. Fellowships will be awarded based on the scientific merit of the proposed research project. Fellowship funds are intended to be used for expenses related directly to the conduct of the proposed research project and are not to be used for tuition, books, or supplies required for the student’s coursework. OPERF reserves the right to reduce the terms of the award, both in time and in funds, as deemed appropriate by the scope of the proposed research. OPERF has arranged for award recipients to present their research at the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (the Academy) Annual Meeting & Scientific Symposium. The Academy has donated complimentary registration and speaking slots for Fellows to present their OPERF-sponsored research.
All OPERF Fellowship Award submissions will be reviewed by a Review Panel composed of OPERF Research Committee members and ad-hoc members, as needed. Composition of the panel will be determined by the type and number of award submissions. The OPERF Research Committee Chair will serve as the review chairperson and serve as the point-of-contact for the Award Program.
Function of the Review Panel
The function of the Review Panel is to evaluate the applications, including the clinical relevance of the
research topic, the merit of the research design, and the appropriateness of the personnel and environment.
The Review Panel will score the Fellowship Award applications using the OPERF Review Form
(available on the OPERF website).
All proposals will be administratively screened upon receipt for completeness and compliance with award requirements. Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant without review. Complete applications will be assigned to two or more Review Panel members for review. Proposals will be evaluated and scored on scientific merit and clinical relevance to the O&P profession using the OPERF Review Form (available on OPERF website). Each submission will be given a numerical score by each reviewer, and a consensus score will be generated. Blinded consensus scores, summary comments, and written reviews will be provided to all applicants upon completion of the review process.
OPERF reserves the right to reduce the terms of the award, both in time and in funds, as deemed appropriate by the scope of the proposed research. The Review Panel may also request that applicants respond to reviewer comments regarding any part of the submission prior to rendering a final award decision.
Conflict of Interest Procedures
Review Panel and OPERF members are required to maintain confidentiality regarding all aspects of the application review process, the proposed projects, and the identity of applicants. OPERF will strive to review all submissions fairly and without bias. In cases where a proposal is submitted by (1) a member of the Review Panel (2) a panel member’s organization; (3) a panel member’s student, resident, or mentee; or (4) a panel member’s colleague who lists the panel member as having any responsibility or involvement in the project being reviewed or who collaborates or currently associates with the panel member in other capacities, which may or may not involve the application under consideration, the Review Panel member in question will be excused from review of the proposal.
When this situation applies to the Chair of the Research Committee, the Chair will turn over management of the review of the application in question to another Research Committee member. That Committee member will be responsible for identifying suitable reviewers, receiving from reviewers the OPERF Conflict of Interest, Confidentiality, and Non-Disclosure Statement and Review Forms, and chairing the portion of any review meeting in which the application in question is discussed. Furthermore, if the application in question is successfully funded, the Chair of the Research Committee will turn over management of the funded project to another member of the Research Committee. That Committee member will then be responsible for receiving and reviewing reports, confirming the IRB approval (if applicable), handling requests from the award recipient, and handling any issues that might arise with that particular project.
Reviewers for each application are required to complete the OPERF Conflict of Interest, Confidentiality, and Non-Disclosure Statement prior to review.
If a submission includes proprietary or confidential information, this should be noted on the cover sheet and relevant sections of the proposal.
Notification of Applicants
All applicants will be notified in writing of the status of their application following review. Notification will include the blinded consensus scores, summary comments, and written reviews. For successful applicants, notification will also include information about how and when funds will be made available. Funds for Fellowship Awards will be payable as a lump sum.
Fellowship Award recipients are responsible for providing a final report to the OPERF Research Committee Chair (see Contact Information below) within 30 days of the conclusion of the funding period. The Fellowship Final Report should be two-pages, typed and single-spaced using 12-point type on 8.5-inch x 11-inch pages with 1-inch margins.
Final Reports should detail the work performed during the study period, summarize expenditures, and
include a list of any submitted and/or anticipated presentations/publications that may result from the
OPERF-funded research. Any questions regarding the content or format of the final report may be
directed to the OPERF Research Committee Chair (see Contact Information, below).
Proposals that do not receive funding on the first attempt may be resubmitted for another award cycle. A maximum of two resubmissions following the original submission will be accepted. The applicant is responsible for resubmitting the proposal using any updated instructions provided on the OPERF website. The cover letter should indicate that the proposal is a resubmission, and a separate document should likewise indicate any changes made to the proposal in response to reviewer concerns from the previous submission (limit two pages, not included in the submission page limit).
A student/investigator who has been awarded a Fellowship may apply for a one-year, no-cost extension in the event that his or her project requires additional time to complete or if additional time is required to prepare for presentation at the Academy Annual Meeting. A written request for a no-cost extension must be submitted by email to the OPERF Research Committee Chair (see Contact Information, below) one month prior to expiry of the current award. If the extension affects the timing of an Academy Annual Meeting presentation, the award recipient must inform the Chair at least two months prior to the Academy Annual Meeting.
OPERF Fellowship Award applicants are required to identify existing and/or pending funding related to the application. If complementary funding is obtained by the investigator prior to the award announcement or during the award period, award recipients are required to inform the OPERF Research Committee Chair (see Contact Information, below) in writing. When contacting the OPERF Research Committee Chair, investigators are encouraged to submit a modified budget reflecting the complementary support obtained for the proposed research.
OPERF reserves the right to modify the provided funding based on alternative support received by the investigator(s). Decisions regarding the modification of funding will be approved by the OPERF Board of Directors.
Ownership of Work
Ownership of intellectual property arising from OPERF-sponsored funding is vested in the award recipient, per the policies of the awardee’s host institution. OPERF reserves the right to publicize all materials received while funding a particular project; e.g. proposals, final reports, Academy Annual Meeting abstract, etc., with the exception of those marked “confidential” or “proprietary.”
Award recipients are required to acknowledge OPERF funding in any publication or presentation of the funded research by including the following statement: “This presentation/work was supported (or “supported in-part” if the project was also supported by other sources) through funds from the Orthotic and Prosthetic Education and Research Foundation, Inc. (OPERF).”
Application is a two part process with a Letter of Intent (LOI) due in advance of the research proposal (see Funding Cycle, below). Please note, the LOI is used only to assemble a review committee with appropriate topic area expertise. Feedback is not provided in response to the LOI, and you do not need to await an invitation to submit an application. However, your application will not be reviewed if an LOI is not submitted. Applicants are encouraged to keep a copy of their original emails containing their LOIs and proposals to verify that they have met the deadlines. OPERF will email receipts when LOIs and proposals are received. If an applicant does not receive a receipt, he or she should call or email the Research Committee Chair (see Contact Information, below) to verify receipt of documents within one week of the applicable deadline. After one week from the deadline, any lost LOIs or proposals will not be considered for funding.
Instructions and Forms
Instructions and forms for submission of proposals are available on the OPERF Website). Submissions may be made by email only. Applicants are responsible for confirming all materials are received by the due dates.