Request for Pilot Research
Project Proposals: 2019

The Heartland Center for Occupational Health and Safety, supported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), announces the availability of funds to support pilot research projects. The mission of the Heartland Center is to serve Federal Region VII by providing graduate training, continuing education and outreach in occupational health and safety (OHS). The Pilot Project Research Training (PPRT) Program welcomes proposals from OHS investigators within Federal Region VII and encourages the submission of proposals from underrepresented minority (URM) researchers.

Research projects must be related to one of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) research areas or cross-sector research areas (see, and pertain to an occupational health or safety issue. The research must be conducted in the United States.

This pilot mechanism is limited to junior faculty, faculty developing a new research initiative in an OHS area, and students pursuing a MS or PhD degree. Each proposal submitted by a student or post-doc must have a faculty sponsor who will oversee the research and provide a mentoring plan.

Two types of projects will be awarded on a competitive basis for the period 7/1/19 – 6/30/20:

  1. A project that can include student funding with a maximum award of $20,000
  2. A project that does not include student funding with a maximum award of $5,000


  • If the PI is a Heartland Center trainee, then requested salary support for the PI plus PI stipend support provided by the Heartland Center for the 2019-20 academic year cannot exceed the NIH stipend rate, currently $24,324. A budget that includes trainee funding must be sent to Ms. Mindy Sickels for approval prior to submission. Contact her at
  • Funds for meeting/conference travel is not allowed.
  • Faculty salary support is not allowed.
  • Indirect costs of 8% can be applied for budgets originating outside the University of Iowa.

The following format must be followed for both funding types. Omission of any requested component of the application may result in the application not being scored and funded. The proposal section for applications for $20,000 funding will be no longer than 5 pages, single-spaced, and no longer than 3 pages, single-spaced for $5,000 awards. Applications for the lower funding level should emphasize the “research plan” and the specific aspects of the project
requiring the budgeted equipment and/or supplies. It is expected that the funded project will be completed within a one-year time frame.

A Cover Page consisting of:

  • Proposal Title, Investigators (Identify the PI) and Affiliation(s),
  • Abstract (300 words max), and
  • A short paragraph that specifies (a) which NORA sector area, (b) which occupation and (c) what health and/or safety issue will be addressed in the study.
  • Disclosure of whether the proposal (with similar Aims) either has been or will be submitted to another funder while it is under review by the Heartland Center. Failure to disclose this information is grounds for rejection of the application and withdrawal of any funds that may be awarded.

A Proposal consisting of the following sections:

  • Specific Aims
  • Background and Significance
  • Research Plan (linked to each Specific Aim)
  • Expected Products (presentations, papers, subsequent grant application, etc.)

Additional sections include

  1. Timeline - covering the period July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020.
  2. References
  3. Detailed Budget and a Budget Justification that provides the rationale for each item in the Budget
  4. Human Subjects Statement
    • For projects involving human subjects, approval by an appropriate institutional review board (IRB) must be obtained prior to funding. The PI of the pilot grant must be listed as the PI on the IRB approval document. Provide (1) a statement of assurance to demonstrate that the project will be subject to review and approval by an IRB, (2) a description of, and justification for, the total number of subjects, and (3) a breakdown of subject inclusion of women, minorities, and children as per DHHS and NIH requirements.
    • For projects not involving human subjects a letter is required from IRB stating that IRB approval is not needed.
  5. Appendix

At minimum the Appendix will include:

  • For a student PI – letter-of-support from the faculty sponsor that explains the student’s role in the project and their process for providing oversight to ensure the success of the project. All projects that include a student or post-doc as the PI should include a written mentoring plan in addition to the letter-of-support. Please contact Dr. Field for more information about the scope and content of the mentoring plan (
  • 2-page biosketch for each faculty investigator/PI
  • 1-page resume for each student investigator/PI

A Review Committee of regional occupational health and safety specialists will evaluate applications. Applications will be reviewed and scored in the following areas (in order of importance):

  • Relevance to occupational health and safety issues
  • Scientific merit (originality, validity and reliability of methods, quality assurance)
  • Project feasibility in terms of budget, timetable, and applicant expertise
  • Capacity to build the research skills of the PI (and study team)
  • Potential for future grant support or significance of other grant outcomes
  • Appropriateness of the budget and budget justification

Please send an electronic version (Adobe file) of the application, no later than March 22, 2019 to be considered. Applicants will be notified of an award decision by April 25, 2019.

Email PDF of the full proposal, including mentoring plan, to: at the Heartland Center for Occupational Health & Safety

If you have any questions regarding the pilot grant requirements, or you would like to determine whether your topic is applicable to this funding mechanism, send an email to the Pilot Program Director, Dr. Bill Field, at