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Pilot Project Research Training Awards



**Click here see a summary of Pilot Project Research Training awards from 2004 - 2020** 


The program’s objective is to enhance occupational research training and research in workplace mental health and worker well-being through direct support of research activities. Funds from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health will support student, postdoctoral, and early investigator research projects with 3 to 5 awards of up to $15,000 each (one Total Worker Health-focused award for up to $25,000) for the budget period January 1, 2024 through June 30, 2025. Projects will be funded for up to 18 months; no extensions are allowed.


Applicants must be predoctoral candidates, postdoctoral fellows (including occupational medicine residents), or junior faculty not above the rank of assistant professor and without established research in the project topic area, who are (or have the possibility to be) involved in occupational health research or training at academic institution in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services region III (Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Virginia, and West Virginia) (for non-agricultural projects) and for the NEC ag region, of which JHU is a part, for projects related to ag, forestry, and fisheries. Exceptions to the region requirement will be made for investigators working in mental health or substance use for TWH projects where there is not another TWH center that would fund such work. Exceptions to the rank requirement will be made for faculty not traditionally working in occupational health, in order to stimulate investigators from other fields to apply their expertise to worker health issues, particularly if their work is relevant to the NORA objectives and if there is evidence that research training capacity will be enhanced through support of their pilot work.

The POE Total Worker Health Center in Mental Health will have a distinctive but complementary focus on worker’s health, with an emphasis on psychosocial and personal characteristics (P), organizational conditions (O), and environmental exposures (E), and on mental health. Applications must be received by Friday, November 3, 2023. Prior to the release of funding, investigators must demonstrate approval of the research project by their institutional review board or animal care and use committee, as appropriate.

Use of Funds

Budgets will be allocated in the name of the junior faculty member or faculty advisor (for student awards) and are to be used exclusively for the described research. This support may be used for research expenses for which there are no other means of support, including supplies, domestic travel related to data collection or presentation, services such as data entry or laboratory analysis, and printing or photocopying. These funds may not be used for student tuition or stipend or for faculty salary except with prior approval. Awardees will be required to provide brief progress reports every six months, a final written report within 30 days of the end of the budget period, and to present their findings at a multidisciplinary occupational health symposium in the Baltimore region. In addition, a designated investigator on any POE TWH Center pilot award will be required to virtually attend a science communications workshop sponsored by the Center.

Evaluation of Applications

A committee of professionals and academics working in the area of occupational health representing NIOSH region 3, will evaluate applications based on relevance to worker health and safety (priorities identified in NIOSH’s National Occupational Research Agenda), merit of the research, need for support, and potential to enhance research training capacity. Likelihood to lead to further research, inclusion of multiple stakeholders, as well as attention to diversity and outreach, will be considered strengths. As per federal regulations, any exclusion of portions of populations (e.g., based on gender or race) as potential research subjects must be specifically justified.

Application Format

Applications must include the following elements: 

  • Project Title
  • Investigator (include biographical sketch)
  • Faculty advisor (student applications only) and collaborators (include biographical sketches for advisor and/or collaborators at the end of the proposal)
  • Identify if application is for ERC, for POE, or for either.
  • Budget and Budget Justification
    • Include an itemization of costs, with a full description and detailed justification of each item; for non-JHU applications, university facilities and administrative costs are limited to 8%. The total cost, excluding facilities and administrative charges, must not exceed $15,000 for ERC or $25,000 for POE awards.
  • Description of research project, between 3-6 single-spaced pages:
    • Abstract (complete and suitable for reproduction)
    • Introduction (one paragraph) –Specify which NORA priority research addresses
    • Objectives and Research Question (one paragraph)
    • Research Plan: three to four pages; fully describe the study population, sample size, data collection methods, analytical framework and methods, expected output (publication, database, etc), expected outcome, and timeline.
  • References
  • List of current funding sources (if any) for this project and the investigator
  • Brief letter of support from faculty advisor (student applications only)
  • Description of student involvement and enhancement of research training capacity (faculty applications only)
  • Documentation of institutional review board or committee on animal care and use approval (not required for application; must be submitted before funds can be released)

Deadline for Applications

Submit applications electronically to Dr. Ana M. Rule at by Friday, November 3, 2023. Direct any questions to Dr. Rule at


Applicants can request to be paired with a mentor, who will be selected from faculty at Johns Hopkins University (with help from ERC’s and POE’s external advisory boards) based on expertise and area of research. Please contact Dr. Ana Rule.


Click here to download this information as a pdf form.