Switzer Research Fellowship Program


The purpose of the Switzer Research Fellow Program is to build research capacity by providing support to highly qualified individuals, including those with disabilities, to perform research on rehabilitation, independent living, and other experiences and outcomes of individuals with disabilities.

How to Apply

  • Only individuals are eligible to be recipients of Fellowships. Any individual who has training and experience that indicate a potential for engaging in scientific research related to rehabilitation and independent living for individuals with disabilities is eligible for assistance under this program. This program provides two categories of Fellowships: Merit Fellowships and Distinguished Fellowships.

    • Merit Fellowships are awarded to individuals in earlier stages of their careers in research. To be eligible for a Merit Fellowship, an individual must have either advanced professional training or experience in independent study in an area that is directly pertinent to disability and rehabilitation

    • Distinguished Fellowships require an individual must have seven or more years of research experience in subject areas, methods, or techniques relevant to disability and rehabilitation research and must have a doctorate, other terminal degree, or comparable academic qualifications


  • The Switzer Research Fellowship accounted for 0.5% of grant program mechanism funding in FY 2015

  • A total of 15 Fellows submitted an annual or final performance report in FY 2015

  • Three of the Fellows self-identified as a racial and/or ethnic minority

  • Switzer Fellows were actively engaged in independent and partnership research, resulting in seven peer-reviewed articles, four measurement tools or technology products, and three information products

  • Switzer Fellows have gone on to hold prominent positions, primarily on the tenure track in academic research institutions, but also in hospital centers or in the private sector for biotechnology companies

Select Accomplishments for FY 2015

Improving Patient Participation in Inpatient Rehabilitation of Individuals with SCI
Washington University, School of Medicine (Grant #90SF0003)

Switzer Research Fellow Dr. Alex Wong, a postdoctoral Fellow at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (now at Washington University), presented the background, rationale, and expected results of his Fellowship project at the 2015 OT Summit of Scholars, an investigation into the impact of patient engagement on outcomes of individuals with spinal cord injury at one-year post-injury.

His presentation described subgroups of engagement during the course of inpatient rehabilitation, factors associated with changes in engagement, and anticipated relationships with participation in the community. Dr. Wong’s presentation was intended to benefit rehabilitation educators and researchers by identifying targets of interventions for boosting patient engagement that lead to improved participation outcomes of persons with spinal cord injury.


Contact Kenneth Wood at NIDILRR if you have questions about the Switzer Research Fellowship Program.

Last modified on 09/20/2017

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