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CPD, Funding, Innovation, Practice Education, research, Uncategorized

Releasing your potential: how the COT Awards can support innovation in the practice setting

Mandy Sainty, Research and Development Manager at COT, highlights that whilst there are undoubtedly challenges, opportunities do exist to support innovation, such as the COT Awards.


When you are feeling under pressure just to complete the core requirements of your post, it can be difficult to believe that innovation is possible. Your time is precious, and funding can be scarce. But what if you could go some way towards demonstrating the value of occupational therapy and the impact of your service on service users, or enhance your professional practice, through a small scale project?

Is there a burning practice question you have, an audit or evaluation that would be valuable to carry out within your service, or even the chance to pilot the use of an outcome measure? Have you discussed ideas with your supervisor or team but are faced with issues of funding, despite support?

COT has eight annual award categories for CPD, Education and Research in the 2017 funding round and three in particular include support for practice based initiatives. The Innovation Award, and the Constance Owens (Liverpool) Award, provide funding to support an innovative or developmental project or research activity. The AMPS UK and Ireland Award likewise provides opportunities towards a practice development project or research activity specific to occupational therapy and the use of AMPS, School AMPS, ESI or OTIPM. You might be surprised by what you could achieve with a sum of £500 – £2000 (sum available depends on the award category).

Whilst the COT Annual Awards are competitive, if you can put together a good application which meets the criteria, you could be carrying out an innovative activity next year.

Innovation: it can deliver benefits for your service and/or your service users and, as such, is therefore also an excellent way of demonstrating an activity that meets the HCPC Continuing Professional Development Standards 3 and 4. The statements are:

A registrant must seek to ensure that their CPD has contributed to the quality of their practice and service delivery; and A registrant must seek to ensure that their CPD benefits the service user.

Great to add to your personal CPD portfolio – particularly when HCPC will be again selecting occupational therapists for the CPD audit in 2017. If your first application for an Annual Award is not successful do consider applying another year, and don’t forget that a record of your application demonstrates a CPD activity in itself.

The 2017 funding round is now open so why not take the initiative:

  • Find out more and apply on the COT website.
  • Get inspired by reading about the innovative journeys of others who have been successful, for example: a service development activity undertaken by David Sanders using funding from the AMPS UK& Ireland Award, or Katie Hackett’s service user project supported by an Innovation Award.
  • Develop your ideas for the activity you wish to undertake.
  • Submit an application and make sure you submit it before the closing date of 2nd December 2016.
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