FPTR Research Survey Sheds Light on Impact of COVID 19 Among Researchers and Institutions

More than 80% of recent FPTR-funding recipients report that their institutions are currently closed for research.

The Foundation for Physical Therapy Research (FPTR) surveyed current funding recipients (those who received awards in 2019) in late May of 2020. Of the 24 responses, 20 indicated that their institutions were currently closed for research. Forty-six percent of respondents noted that the impact was moderate – meaning that only some aspects of research were paused. Forty-two percent indicated that the impact was high – meaning all research is paused until further notice.

Of the responses, 80% of researchers surveyed are working entirely remotely.

According to survey results, a handful of currently funded FPTR researchers are working on COVID 19-related research. Four of the 24 respondents indicated such, including one respondent who noted that the research was related, but began before the pandemic. Two FPTR-funded researchers are working on COVID 19 telehealth-related projects.

FPTR’s funding process includes regular check-ins and reporting. However, staff chose to survey the researchers as a means of better understanding trends and challenges.

“Although it is disheartening to see much of research halted during this pandemic many are communicating to us ways they are pivoting and continuing to move forward toward better physical therapy-led treatments for patients,” said Liz Jackson, FPTR Senior Specialist, Research and Grants Program. Several FPTR-funded researchers have been able to publish COVID-related work, including a recent point of view article published in the Physical Therapy Journal (PTJ), by Jason R. Falvey, PT, DPT, PhD, and a recent paper via The American Journal of Medicine by Richard Severin, PT, DPT, CCS, taking a closer look at respiratory muscle performance in the current pandemic.

As with many nonprofits, FPTR has been impacted by the volatile market and adjusted 2020 funding. However, FPTR will award more than $800,000 in 2020 and is currently accepting grant applications. Further FPTR, is working with researchers to adjust timelines for research that may be placed on hold.

“Our researchers are among the many in our community finding their way in the current health crisis,” said Paul Rockar, Jr., PT, DPT, MS, FAPTA, FPTR President. “We’re thankful that our supporters have made it possible for us to continue investing in research and researchers in 2020.  Though these researchers are still navigating the challenges of the times, continued funding will keep advancing the profession.”


To learn more about FPTR’s current grant applications and deadlines, visit Foundation4pt.org/grants. FPTR staff have also been sharing other resources for researchers. Visit bethenewnormalmatch.org for more information on partnering with teams to do research that might help prevent, treat, and cure COVID-19 and contact us to share resources that might be of value to our community.


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