Request for Proposals ~ 2024

Deep South Center for Occupational Health & Safety

A National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

Education & Research Center (ERC)

Deadline for Applications: March 15, 2024

Background: The Deep South Center for Occupational Health and Safety (DSC) provides research opportunities, training and outreach for Occupational Health Nursing, Industrial Hygiene, Occupational Safety and Ergonomics in the Southeastern US. Through the Pilot/Small Project Research Training (PPRT) mechanism, the DSC will support small/pilot research projects that will emphasize the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) established by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). NORA uses a sector-based approach to define and meet high priority needs. These sectors are: a. Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, b. Construction, c. Healthcare and Social Assistance, d. Manufacturing, e. Mining, f. Services, g. Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities, and h. Wholesale and Retail Trade.

Purpose: The DSC is soliciting faculty and student applications for research grants in the broad area of occupational safety and health. The purpose of the grant awards is to encourage new and innovative research by students, postdoctoral trainees and new investigators in topics related to occupational health and safety that are among the priorities set by the NORA and established by NIOSH. Eligible candidates for this request for proposals are members of higher education institutions from the southeast region of the United States

Categories of Awards:

A total of approximately $80,000 is available for this year’s awards.

1. Trainee Award: Master and doctoral students from the Southeast Region will be eligible. Each trainee applicant may apply for up to $10,000 awards for research projects that are part of master’s project or doctoral dissertation. For this category of award, students must list an advisor who must have faculty ranking at the same institution.

2.  Postdoctoral Trainee Award: Individuals with PhD/DrPH/MD degrees working as post doctoral trainees, medical fellows, or equivalent position are eligible for this award. Each trainee may apply for up to $15,000.

3. Career Development Award: Junior faculty members will be eligible to apply for this award. The maximum award amount can be up to $20,000 each. This award is designed to support new investigators in establishing new research areas and to encourage the most creative individuals from other research areas to apply their expertise and pursue innovative and novel approaches that may significantly contribute to the NORA objectives.

The project period will be a maximum of one year from the date of the award.

The Scientific Review Board will award grants ranging from $2,000 to $20,000 representing total direct and indirect cost, conditional upon renewal of NIOSH funding for the Deep South Center beginning on July 1, 2023.

Eligible expenses: If there is clear justification of need for expenditures and clear explanation of their direct relevance to the proposed research these awards may be used for any category of research-related expenses. The awards cannot be used for student tuition support.

Requirements: Successful awardees will be required to present the results of their projects in two ways:

  1. An oral presentation of the project results at an interdisciplinary research seminar (The Southeast Regional Research Symposium) held by the Deep South ERC.
  2. A final report, with results presented in manuscript form (if possible), is due two months after the completion of the project. A list and copies/reprints of any publications and presentations resulting from the project should be included in this final report.

To monitor progress, a six-month short update is required to be submitted by the PI to the program director by January 15, 2024.

Investigators will be encouraged to present the results of their work in papers or abstracts and will also be encouraged to submit a full-scale extramural application based on the project work. It is expected that presentations of work resulting from this award will acknowledge support by NIOSH and the DSC. Reprints of papers and abstracts resulting from the award must be provided to the research training program director. Additionally, award recipients will agree to report periodically (once per year) information regarding their career track for the next five years from the beginning of the award to measure the impact of the program. This information will be requested in the form of a survey and will be collected by the program director.


Prior to applying for these funds a short electronic note expressing the intent of applying and the broad area of the proposed research is required to be sent to the program coordinator together with the category of award applied for by February 17, 2023.

To apply for these grants, the following materials must be received by the application deadline:

1. Face page (PHS #398) and a maximum 300 words abstract.

2. Biographical sketch or résumé (trainees) for each person involved in the research (including faculty adviser, if applicable).

3. A short (5 pages) proposal narrative, outlining the proposed research project, including: a) Objective and specific aims; b) Significance c) Innovation of the proposed research to the field, d) Approach (methods) proposed to accomplish the proposed aims.

3. Budget (use the NIH PHS #398 budget forms).

4. Budget justification describing each item of the proposed budget and its relevance to the research

5.  Human subjects, vertebrate animals, and/or radiation safety assurance information. A compliance plan, showing that necessary approvals will be submitted if an award will be received. Attention! Funding will not be initiated until formal notification of IRB / IACUC approval is received by the Program Director.

6. Trainees (students and postdocs) should submit separately a one-page (maximum) statement describing what the funding will do to foster their training.

7. Student applicants must list a faculty adviser/mentor. A short training plan for the student should be submitted by the adviser/mentor together with a letter of recommendation.

8. If the proposed project involves organizations or persons other than those affiliated with the applicant institution, letters of support must be included with the application.

Applications determined to be incomplete or unresponsive to this announcement will be returned to the applicant without further consideration.

Important observation: Assistance is available and will be provided to applicants who are less familiar with the research grant application process, from universities and colleges that are not research-focused. To benefit from this assistance, applicants should submit the proposal narrative at least one month before the deadline for review and feedback.

Review Criteria: The following criteria will be used to determine the recipients of these awards:

1. Scientific score (70%) will assess the Overall Impact: The extent to which the project, if successfully carried out, will make an original, important and/or innovative contribution to the field of occupational safety and health taking into account the following:

Significance: Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, be improved?

  • Investigator: Is the PI well-suited for the project? Has the PI demonstrated a record of accomplishments that have advanced the field?
  • Trainees:  Is the trainee well suited and, does he have the approval of his mentor to carry out this research? Is the proposed research part of the training plan described in the trainee’s statement and approved by the mentor (Trainees & postdocs only)?

Innovation: Does the research employ novel concepts, approaches, or methods? Are the aims innovative?

Approach: Is the overall strategy, experimental design, methodology, and analysis appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project?

Additional review criteria (not score-driven)

Feasibility: The likelihood that the proposed work can be accomplished by the investigators, given their documented experience and expertise during the timeframe dedicated to the project

External Funding Plan: A description of how the results will be leveraged into external applications and a plan for expanding the work as a line of research (Career development only).

Human Subjects, Gender/Minority and/or Vertebrate Animals Issues: Is there a plan for obtaining IRB or IACUC approval included?

Special Note: Funding will not be initiated until formal notification of IRB / IACUC approval is received by the Program Director!

Budget: Is the budget justified?

2. Programmatic score (30%) will assess the compliance with the following criteria: The proposed research:

a.   Meets the NIOSH NORA (www.cdc.gov/niosh/nora/) and research to practice (www.cdc.gov/niosh/r2p/) priorities and the unique occupational health and safety needs of the region.

b.   Builds research capacity among trainees and investigators belonging to minority and disadvantaged groups.

The projected starting time for funding will be July 1, 2024.

Submission: Completed applications are to be sent electronically to:

Paulisha Holt, MBA

DSC Program manager

UAB, School of Public Health


Please cc:

Claudiu T. Lungu, Ph.D.


Pilot Projects Research Training Program Director

Department of Environmental Health Sciences,

UAB, School of Public Health