Request for Pilot Research
Project Proposals: Spring 2018

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 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).


Research projects must be related to one of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) sector areas (see this page) and pertain to an occupational health or safety issue. The research must be conducted in the United States.  Priority will be given to applicants from Region VII.  A major goal of the program is to provide pilot funds that enables investigators to collect sufficient data to pursue subsequent support through other funding mechanisms. The Heartland Center for Occupational Health and Safety is particularly interested in proposals that: 

  • Support OHS trainee research projects;
  • Develop innovative approaches or lines of investigation in OSH;
  • Stimulate investigators from other fields to apply their expertise to OSH issues;
  • Develop new partnerships to address emerging safety and health concerns; and
  • Provide initial support for a translational or research-to-practice project.


This pilot mechanism is limited to junior faculty, faculty developing a new research initiative in an OHS area, and OHS trainees pursuing an MS or PhD degree. Each proposal submitted by a trainee must include a faculty sponsor who will oversee the research and a brief mentoring plan that creates a timeline of specific benchmarks and goals to evaluate progress.


Two types of projects will be awarded on a competitive basis for the period 7/1/18 – 6/30/19.

  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 2018-19 academic year cannot exceed the NIH stipend rate, currently $23,844. A budget that includes trainee funding must be sent to Ms. Mindy Sickels for approval prior to submission (
  • 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.

 A Cover Page consisting of all of the following:

  • 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.
  • The following statement:
  • “If I submit this pilot grant application (or an application with similar aims) to another funder while it is under review by the Heartland Center, I will notify the Heartland Center.  I understand that failure to comply with this policy 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 (conference abstracts, papers, subsequent grant application, etc.)

Additional sections include:

  • Timeline - covering the period 7/1/18 – 6/30/19
  • Brief Mentoring Plan
  • References
  • Detailed Budget and a Budget Justification that provides the rationale for each item in the Budget    
  1. 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 needed from IRB stating that IRB approval is not needed. 
  1. 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.
  • 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
  • Potential for future grant support or significance of other grant outcomes
  • Appropriateness of the budget and budget justification


Please send two print copies and an electronic version (Word or Adobe file) of the application, no later than March 16, 2018 in order to be considered. Applicants will be notified of an award decision by April 16, 2018

Send Copies to:
Heartland Center for Occupational Health & Safety
Attention: Ms. Janie Simmons
145 N. Riverside Drive, S344 CPHB
Iowa City, IA 52242-5000   

Send electronic files to:
Ms. Janie Simmons at 
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