Friday, 21 October 2016

Sheffield Occupational Therapy Clinical Academic Network (SOTCA): First open meeting a huge success!

Laura Di Bona

A group of occupational therapists based in and around Sheffield have developed a network to advance occupational therapy knowledge and practice. The network, SOTCA, aims to improve outcomes and experiences for service users of a diverse range of occupational therapy services across the region. SOTCA hopes to achieve this through forming cross-organisational collaborations and providing peer support to occupational therapists trying to improve practice or develop a clinical academic career. It is open to any occupational therapist who shares our aims, whether you are a student, newly qualified, highly experienced, retired or anything in between.

SOTCA’s first open meeting was held on 13th October 2016 and attended by seventeen occupational therapists from seven organisations. It was hosted by Colette Fegan at Sheffield Hallam University who treated us to a tour of their innovative teaching facilities. The meeting was then used for networking, forming collaborations and peer support. The amount of knowledge and enthusiasm in the room was amazing, so we certainly have plenty to offer each other. The atmosphere was energising, optimistic and conversation flowed long after the meeting was due to finish! Old friends caught up and new friendships were formed. Future goals of the group were set and these include developing collaborations and links (especially between practice and research), learning from each other and improving practice.

The next meeting will be in January 2017. If you are an occupational therapist who would like to join our network, please contact Laura Di Bona (

At the January meeting we plan to share some of our clinical academic / occupational therapy research experiences and journeys, do get in touch with Laura if you would like to share.

Some recommendations from the meeting:

  • College of Occupational Therapists Research and Development Bulletin. If you are a BAOT member and wish to receive these bulletins email Lesley Gleaves, R&D Administrator (  

  • Council for Allied Health Professionals Research. If you would like to be added to their mail list please contact Stephanie Portier, with your full name, email address, profession and which region you are based in. There is a forthcoming event entitled “How to be an AHP clinician who does research”. Thursday, 3rd November 2016 6-9 pm. Sheffield Hallam University.

 Written by Laura Di Bona