CDC – Occupational Safety and Health Research (R01)

June 4, 2018 by School of Medicine Webmaster

Every day, millions of U.S. workers go to work expecting to return home healthy and safe. The workplace environment can have a significant impact on a worker’s physical and psychological health. Depending on the job, a worker may be at risk for many different kinds of injuries and illnesses or even death. Work-related illnesses are often significantly underestimated due to the difficulty of recognizing or associating illness or disease with past occupational exposures. In 2016, there were approximately 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers, according to estimates from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In addition, a report from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) by the BLS indicates that there were 5,190 fatal work injuries in the United States in 2016. Work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths are very costly to American society. In 2015, employers spent $94.8 billion on workers’ compensation (National Academy of Social Insurance Data). Despite successes in reducing fatal and nonfatal occupational-related injuries and illnesses in recent years, the need for continued research and intervention activities in occupational safety and health (OSH) remains essential.


The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is an agency operating under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with the mission of generating new knowledge in the field of occupational safety and health and transferring that knowledge into practice to prevent worker injury, illness and death. To accomplish this mission, NIOSH conducts and funds scientific research, develops methods to prevent occupational hazards, develops guidance and authoritative recommendations, translates scientific knowledge into products and services, disseminates information, identifies factors underlying work-related disease and injury and responds to requests for workplace health hazard evaluations (see About NIOSH).

NIOSH organizes its research programs into sector and cross-sector programs based on the framework provided by the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), a partnership program designed to stimulate innovative research and improved workplace practices.

Research objectives supported by NIOSH include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • identification and investigation of the relationships between hazardous working conditions and associated occupational diseases and injuries;
  • development of more sensitive means of evaluating hazards at work sites;
  • development of methods for measuring early markers of adverse health effects and injuries;
  • development of new protective equipment and engineering control technology to reduce work-related illnesses and injuries;
  • development of work practices that reduce the risks of occupational hazards; and
  • evaluation of the technical feasibility or application of a new or improved occupational safety and health procedure, method, technique, or system, including assessment of economic and other factors that influence their diffusion and successful adoption in workplaces.

The NIOSH R01 research grant is an award made to support a distinct, specific, defined project to be performed by the named investigator(s) in an area representing the investigator’s specific interest and competencies, and based on the mission of the NIOSH. The research plan proposed by the applicant must be related to the stated program interests of NIOSH.

R01 grant applications are expected to have extensive level of detail and discussion. Preliminary data are required. Appropriate justification for the proposed work can be provided through literature citations, data from other sources, or from investigator-generated data.

Healthy People 2020 and other National Strategic Priorities

The United States Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving nationwide improvements in health for a society in which all people live long, healthy lives. The vision, mission, and goals are found in Healthy People 2020 at The objectives of Healthy People 2020 related to occupational safety and health (OSH) are primarily addressed through the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA). NORA, established by NIOSH and its partners to stimulate research and improve workplace practices, provides a framework to guide OSH research. The goal of NIOSH research programs is to support relevant, high quality, and effective projects that demonstrate impact in reducing occupational disease and injury. Detailed information about the NORA Program Portfolio can be found at

Public Health Impact

NIOSH Programs support 1) research that addresses worker safety, accident prevention, and health concerns across a wide spectrum of industries and occupations, and 2) approaches that include basic research though translation research. The latter approach takes research knowledge and works to put it to use by promoting engineering controls, new technologies, and communication products. Through this announcement, NIOSH encourages qualified applicants to submit applications that will reduce or prevent occupational injury, illness and death, whether targeted to particular worker populations or to workers in broad spectrums of the work environment.

Relevant Work

NIOSH has a long history of funding extramural research covering a highly diverse range of topics and approaches related to occupational safety and health. Ongoing funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) provide grant support for investigator-initiated research, small research projects, exploratory developmental research, and mentored research scientist career development awards. Through funding in these areas, NIOSH successfully supports advancements in knowledge in the field of occupational safety and health and the transfer of knowledge into practice. More information can be found at https://www.cdc.gove/niosh/oep.


NIOSH organizes its research program under the framework of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) which can be found at NORA is a partnership program to stimulate innovative research and improved workplace practices. Unveiled in 1996, NORA is in its third decade (2016-2026). It has an enhanced structure consisting of 10 industry sectors based on major areas of the U.S. economy, and 7 health and safety cross-sectors organized according to the major occupational health and safety issues affecting the U.S. working population.

NIOSH has developed its FY2019-2023 strategic plan that identifies strategic and intermediate goals for its research portfolio ( The strategic goals listed below represent the major health and safety issues facing the U.S workforce. These goals are the broad focus areas for this funding opportunity.

Strategic Goals

  • Reduce occupational cancer, cardiovascular disease, adverse reproductive outcomes, and other chronic diseases.
  • Reduce occupational hearing loss.
  • Reduce occupational immune, infectious, and dermal disease.
  • Reduce occupational musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Reduce occupational respiratory disease.
  • Improve workplace safety to reduce traumatic injuries.
  • Promote safe and healthy work design and well-being.

Intermediate Goals

NIOSH has also identified intermediate goals. These are specific actions needed to achieve, or help achieve, the strategic goals. In addition, NIOSH has identified certain areas where extramural research is specifically encouraged to fill a gap or provide a capacity that NIOSH cannot. Descriptions and updates of the strategic and intermediate goals are on the NIOSH website at

Note to Applicants.  Consider the NIOSH strategic plan carefully as you develop proposals and identify the strategic and intermediate goals the proposed research will support. Funding priority will be given to those applications that clearly address strategic and intermediate goals. Researchers are encouraged to propose innovative or novel approaches to address the major health and safety issues facing the U.S. workforce and move the field forward through action designed to achieve these goals.

NORA Sectors and Health and Safety Cross-sectors

In the Project Description/Abstract, state which industry sector(s) and health and safety cross-sector(s) the proposed work will address. Provide a clear rationale for how the intended outcomes of the proposed project will contribute to the specified strategic and intermediate goals.

Funding priority will be given to applications that clearly identify the strategic and intermediate goals their proposed work will address or support.

Note to Applicants.  Review the following websites for updates about NIOSH strategic and intermediate goals, research goal priorities, and other current information as you craft and submit your research proposals:

This information is provided to help researchers submit relevant, high-quality applications.

Burden, Need and Impact (BNI)

The third decade of NORA encompasses a new framework for assessing research priorities and aligning NIOSH research investments. This framework provides a structured, transparent, and evidence-based approach that considers the following:

  • the burden of occupational exposures and hazards on worker morbidity, mortality, injury, and direct and indirect economic costs;
  • the need for the research effort, including the comparative advantage that NIOSH embodies; and
  • the potential for impact of the proposed research.

This new burden-need-impact framework is known by its acronym, BNI. Research funded under this FOA will advance the strategic and intermediate goals of the NIOSH Strategic Plan ( based on BNI. The concepts of the BNI framework are described in the following 3 sections.

Burden.  Burden is risk from any of the following: exposure to hazards; occurrence of injuries, illnesses, or deaths due to work-related factors; and impacts on economic factors and well-being. The extent of exposure can be in terms of the number of workers exposed, the magnitude of the exposure, or both. The assessment of burden is based on several main constructs: magnitude of the problem; health impact severity; exposure to workers; societal costs; new or emerging issues; and relationship to work environment. For emerging issues, the burden is anticipatory.

Note to Applicants.  Clearly describe the occupational health burden(s) your research will address and how the proposed research activities and outputs will help alleviate these burdens. Estimate potential burden by using the same arguments as for existing burden, and identify any assumptions. Provide a rationale for extrapolating potential burden to the population at risk. Address the following elements of burden:  exposure/Hazard; injury/Illness; disability/Severity; cost.

Need.  Although burden is a foundational factor in setting priorities, need is also a critical factor. NIOSH should not only invest in important burden areas, but also focus on the most relevant and impactful issues pertaining to the burden.

Note to Applicants.  Address the following elements of need:  evidence of knowledge gap; methodological approach; time fit; stakeholder need.

Impact.  The assessment of impact is based on the potential for the activity to be successful in generating knowledge or products that will be used by stakeholders external to NIOSH (intermediate outcomes).

Note to Applicants.  Describe how these intermediate outcomes might result in reduced burden or improved health and well-being in the near- or long-term. Describe who will benefit from the proposed activities. Include appropriate partners or stakeholders in the activities to help ensure successful transfer of the findings to the end users or intended audience. Address the following elements of impact:  likelihood of success; use or dissemination of research results by others; and follow-on research.

Deadlines:  for the initial round, July 23, 2018 for New applications and August 10, 2018 for Resubmission, Renewal, and Revision applications; thereafter, standard dates apply through November 2023


Filed Under: Funding Opportunities