Please Note the Pre-Proposal Requirement for this Year


The American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy (AASPT) is recognized as the leader in sports physical therapy by promoting excellence in research, education, and professional development. AASPT established the Legacy Fund with the intent of supporting clinically relevant research conducted by its members to advance sports physical therapy practice.

The purpose of the New Investigator Research Grant is to support clinical research projects of AASPT members who are early in their professional careers. Research proposals that investigate issues within the broad discipline of sports physical therapy, including clinical practice, injury prevention and rehabilitation, epidemiology, and education are welcomed.


To be eligible for the New Investigator Research Grant award, the principal investigator (PI) must be an AASPT member who is no more than five (5) years from clinical residency or research doctoral/post-doctoral training at the time of application. Individuals who have obtained federal research funding or who have previously received Legacy funding are not eligible. Applicants without formal research training are strongly encouraged to work collaboratively with an experienced academic or clinical researcher and include this mentor as a co-investigator on the proposed project.

All proposals should clearly and directly add to or refine the body of knowledge on which the field of sports physical therapy is based. Additional consideration will be given to proposals that are likely to lead to larger clinical projects and/or subsequent foundation or federal level funding.


This fund will award up to a maximum of $10,000 per award cycle for a study period of no more than one (1) year. Final funding amounts will be determined by annual spendable earnings and this amount may fluctuate slightly from cycle to cycle. Proposals with budgets exceeding $10,000 will not be reviewed.


Justifiable research expenses include but are not limited to data collection equipment, materials/supplies, statistical consultation, patient/subject honorarium, publication fees, and conference travel of one investigator for dissemination of findings. Grant funds may not be used for indirect costs, salary support of investigators or coinvestigators, or the purchase of computers.


A pre-proposal from all applicants interested in submitting an application for the Legacy Fund New Investigator Grant. The pre-proposal optimizes the time invested by both the investigators and the AASPT Research Committee in order to identify proposals with potential for funding. The Research Committee will extend written invitations for full proposals to selected investigators based on the merit of the pre-proposals; this invitation does not imply a commitment to funding. Funding decisions will be made following formal review of the full invited proposals.

All potential applicants are strongly encouraged to attend the informational webinar hosted by a member of the AASPT Research Committee. Access to the webinar is available through AASPT Research.


The Research Committee will evaluate the merit of the pre-proposals using adapted NIH guidelines consisting of the following four criteria.

  1. Significance & Relevance: The potential for the proposal to make significant and timely contributions to the field of sports physical therapy.
  2. Innovation: The novelty of the concepts, analytical techniques, and interventions, or the potential to challenge current clinical and scientific paradigms within sports physical therapy.
  3. Approach: The extent to which the concept, research design, statistical methods and analyses are adequately described and appropriate for the proposed investigation.
  4. Investigators & Environment: The ability of the PI and the research team to successfully complete the proposed investigation, including clear evidence of protected effort. Consideration is also given to the quality of the facilities and resources available to the research team.

The Research Committee will provide a brief written notification to those applicants not invited for the full proposal with general feedback regarding why it was not invited. Detailed feedback will not be provided.

Submission and Review Timeline 

June 4, 2021

Pre-proposals due

July 2, 2021

Selected applicants will be notified to submit a full proposal

September 30, 2021

Submission deadline for full proposals

November 20, 2021

Notice of Award

Applications must be sent electronically and received by 11:59 PM PT on the respective due date. Paper or faxed submissions will not be accepted.


Applications that do not adhere to these format requirements may be administratively withdrawn.

  • A single PDF that includes all required components in the order listed below.
  • Create the application using Arial or Calibri typeface. Use no less than 11-point type size. Smaller type sizes may be used for tables and figures, but the text must be easily legible.
  • Page sizes in final PDF submission must not exceed 8.5” x 11.0”. Margins must be at least 0.8” on all sides. No more than six (6) lines of type per vertical inch are allowed

Pre-proposal Components (2-page maximum)

  1. Project Title
  2. Background and Significance, including research question and central hypothesis
    1. Include supporting evidence for the study premise
    2. State explicitly the current gap in the literature and the study’s relevance to sports physical therapy
  3. Study Design, clearly state the study design (e.g., RCT, prognostic)
  4. Population and Recruitment Strategy 
    1. Briefly describe your population of interest; a table detailing eligibility criteria is encouraged
    2. Recruitment strategy should outline how you will gain access to your population of interest
  5. Research Approach 
    1. Briefly describe the scientific approach to testing your hypotheses. This section should include:
      1. Variables of interest
      2. Summary of the testing methods
      3. Brief statistical plan with sample size justification
  6. Study Environment: A brief description of facilities, equipment, and resources available to the study team and relevant to the proposed project 
  7. IRB Status (i.e., approved, pending, not yet submitted)
  8. List of Study Team, with the following information including: names, credentials, affiliation(s), job title, email, role on project, up to 5 relevant presentations/publications/grants within last 5 years. This is not included in the page limit.
  9. Bibliography, this is not included in the page limit.

Please address all applications and questions to:
Mark Paterno, PT, PhD, MBA, SCS, ATC
AASPT Research Committee
[email protected]