Research Grant Program


Foundation Research Program

Through the Foundation's proactive approach to research, it is emerging as a major player in national safety and health research.

Note: Program dates updated. We received many excellent applications and would like to give each white paper proper consideration. With that in mind, the Foundation Research Committee has requested more time to review white papers before requesting full proposals. New dates are as follows:

  • The Foundation Research Committee will alert researchers if they have been selected for full proposal stage by December 1, 2014.
  • Full proposals will be due March 1, 2015.

Thank you to everyone who applied to the Foundation Research Program. We appreciate your interest and look forward to partnering together to broaden the scope of safety knowledge.

Request for Proposed Research White Papers

The American Society of Safety Engineers Foundation announces the Foundation Research Program, which will select one study to fund every three years. The scientific merit, efficacy of the research design and impact of the outcome of each proposal will be evaluated by the ASSE Foundation Research Committee. 

One three-year award of up to $300,000 will be funded in 2015 (at $100,000/year for three years). This constitutes all available funding – researchers should expect to cover any student costs, salary costs and any overhead and fringe charged by the researcher’s institute or university.

Research Goals

The primary stated goal of this research program is to support the development of knowledge and/or innovative methods, systems and other appropriate interventions for advancing safety and health in the workplace. The research should assist safety and health professionals in mitigating the risks of injury and illness in the workplace.  A secondary goal of this program is to help develop and grow research talent in the safety and health field.

Research Topics

Research white papers and subsequent selected full proposal focus areas will be based on the safety-related topics of the NIOSH-National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA).  White papers and then subsequent selected research proposals that address the needs identified by this recognized national research agenda will be accepted and given funding consideration.  Individuals submitting proposals have the complete freedom to determine from this agenda the topic they wish to address in their proposal.  The Foundation Research Committee will determine whether an individual white paper and then subsequent proposal (if white paper is selected for full proposal) responds to a NIOSH-NORA need.  If a proposal does not address a NORA-defined need, it can still be considered based on perceived contribution to science and the health and safety field after significant discussion among the research committee and ASSEF Board of Trustees. 

White Paper Stage

Those wishing to submit a full proposal must first submit a 5-8 page white paper detailing their proposed research, due October 1, 2014.  The white paper should be a preliminary version of the full proposal format described below, except that contractual arrangements or letters of participation or support will not be necessary for the white paper stage and any IRB approvals can be sought only if your white paper is selected to move on for full proposal.  However, if planning to work with industry partners or other outside entities, you should state this in the white paper.  The Foundation Research Committee expects to select between 6-12 white papers. If your white paper is chosen, the Foundation Research Committee will request a full research proposal, due February 1, 2015.

White papers and full research proposals will be evaluated by the degree to which the described activity meets the following criteria:

  • High level of scientific merit
  • High level of analytical and statistical rigor (exceptions made for compelling descriptive or qualitative designs).
  • Measurability of results/outcomes
  • Efficient use of resources
  • Well-defined target population
  • Transferability to other work environments or generalizability across more than one industry sector
  • Extent to which the proposed research can be validated and whether or not the proposal defines and describes the validation process to be used.
  • Originality of proposal and level of innovation required and produced
  • Value of the research results and their potential impact on workplace health and safety (use and/or application)
  • Whether a proposed research team has the necessary qualifications, experience and resources to carry out the proposed research.

Research Proposal Format and Selection Criteria

The format for research proposals is the NIH Public Health Service Grant - PHS 398 format containing:

  • Introduction
  • Specific Aims
  • Research Strategy and Research Design (including the literature search driving the proposal and description of any preliminary data)
  • Budget and budget justification
  • Bibliography and References Cited
  • Protection of Human Subjects (as appropriate)
  • Targeted/Planned Enrollment Table
  • Principal Investigator Leadership Plan
  • Contractual Arrangements and Letters of Participation and/or Support

Please note, if human subjects are to be used, appropriate approval from a recognized Institutional Review Board must be obtained (but only if requested to write a full proposal – this step is not required for the white paper step) and it will be the responsibility of the researcher to obtain this approval.  Evidence of this approval must be contained in the proposal (plans for use of human subjects should at least be described in the white paper).

Application and Selection Process

White Papers will be due October 1, 2014.  They must be submitted by midnight and will only be accepted electronically by Brenda Kay Zylstra at

The Foundation Research Committee will alert researchers if they have been selected for full proposal stage by December 1, 2014.

Full proposals will be due March 1, 2015.  

The selected applicant must be able to prepare a report suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal appropriate to the topic or in Professional Safetywithin six months of the completed project. All applications become the property of the ASSE Foundation. The decisions of the Board of Trustees and Research Committee are final.

Acknowledgement of Awards

Information on the award winner will be disseminated via ASSE and ASSE Foundation publications or other outlet as deemed appropriate.

For Further Information

Contact Brenda Kay Zylstra at


Research studies funded by the ASSE Foundation include:

The Effects of Restricting Space

Grady T. Holman, Troy Blackburn and S. Maghsoodloo

Employee Morale; Examining the Link to Occupational Safety & Health

Michael Behm

A Survey of Corporate Financial Decision Makers' Perceptions of Safety Performance, Programs & Personnel

DeArmond, Huang & Chen

Transitioning Sloped Surfaces: The Effects of Roofing Work on Balance & Falls

Lloyd "Chip" Wade and Jerry Davis - Auburn University

Glove Use and the Relative Risk of Acute Hand Injury: A Case-Crossover Study

Sorock, Lombardi, Peng, Hauser, Eisen, Herrick, Mittleman

Using Narrative Text & Coded Data to Develop Hazard Scenarios for Occupational Injury Interventions

Lincoln, Sorock, Courtney, Wellman, Smith, Amoroso

Impact Performance of Polycarbonate Lenses for Industry and Sport

Paul Vinger, M.D. - Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston

Stress Factors Experienced by Women in Non-Traditional Occupations: Female Commercial Drivers in the Transportation Industry

Tracey Bernard, Ph.D and Linda Bouck, Ed.D - Murray State University

How to Cope with Terrorism in the Schools

Daniel E. Della-Giustina, Ph.D. - West Virginia University

Assessment of Ergonomic Risk Factors among Operators of Heavy Earth Moving Machinery

N. Kumar Kittusamy - Marshall University

Critical Characteristics for Successful Construction Safety: A Study of the Culture within Outstanding Construction Companies

Keith Molenaar, Ph.D. - University of Colorado

Effectiveness of Safety Incentive Programs in Construction

Paul Goodrum, P.E., Ph.D. - University of Kentucky

Getting a Grip on Grip Force Estimates

Jeffrey S. Casey, Raymond W. McGorry & Patrick G. Dempsey

Impact of Maintenance Function on Plant Safety

Ray, Batson, Weems, Wan, Sorock, Matz, Cotnam


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