Request for Applications

California Labor Lab Pilot Project Research Funding

Funding for Academic Year 2023-2024/2025
Deadline: March 1, 2023
Letter of intent (if required): February 1, 2023
To download a copy of the revised RFA, please click here.


This program’s objective is to support research that aims to understand or enhance worker health. Funding priorities include: responding to the mission of the California Labor Lab, research consistent with the NIOSH Total Worker Health® approach, having an emphasis on vulnerable populations, or focusing on the physical and mental health impact of non-traditional work arrangements. An important priority is to support young investigators or more senior investigators new to these areas. Research that addresses ways to work with affected workers more effectively or that concerns policy approaches to worker health and well-being is welcome.

Award size: $10,000-20,000

Project duration: 12 or 18 months

Eligibility Requirements

  • Eligible candidates include:
    • Graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and early investigators (within 5 years of first appointment), or
    • Later career candidates with a new focus in this area, or
    • Non-academics from non-profit and NGOs focused on labor and employment health and safety initiatives
  • Each applicant may submit only one proposal per funding cycle.
  • Students should be enrolled or affiliated with a US Institution (US citizenship not required).

Application Requirements

  • A biosketch  or CV including relevant experience, education, and publications (maximum 4 pages). If applicant is a trainee, include a biosketch/CV for the mentoring faculty member.
  • A proposal (see components and page limits below)
  • Applications should be emailed to [email protected] by 11:59pm PST on March 1, 2023

Proposal Components (corrected, 2/21/23)

  • Project Title
  • Abstract (up to 500 words, suitable for reproduction)
  • Description of research project:
    • Specific aims and/or hypotheses section describing the overall study objective and the specific aims of the proposed research. (maximum 1 page)
    • Background and significance section summarizing the existing literature on the subject, research gap(s) and specific research areas to be addressed and how those fit in with NIOSH National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) priorities and/or mission of the CA Labor Lab, and describing the significance of the proposed research for worker health, well-being, safety, work ability, productivity, return-to-work, or other relevant outcomes, or for the development of research methods or tools. (maximum 1 page)
    • Research Plan (3-4 pages; fully describe the study population, sample size, data collection methods, analytical framework and methods). For projects concerning worker engagement or policy issues, include an evaluation plan.
  • References
  • Project time schedule with milestones and deliverables by month (<1 page)
  • Dissemination plans (specify conference for abstract submission, manuscript working title, or other appropriate dissemination venues for your project). Include a description of plans to disseminate to impacted communities and describe how stakeholders/communities are engaged in research activities, if appropriate. (maximum 1 page)
  • Plans for future research (maximum 1 page; specify objectives and new proposal working title)
  • For trainees, mentoring plan (specify research mentors and frequency and type of contact)
  • List of other support, including current funding sources for this project and the applicant or, for trainees, the mentor
  • Student applications: brief letter of support from faculty advisor
  • Faculty applications: description of student involvement and enhancement of research training capacity, if applicable
  • Budget and Budget Justification
    • Include an itemization of costs, with a full description and justification of each item
    • Assume a maximum of 8% indirect costs
    • Allowable costs include (but are not limited to) equipment, supplies, participation incentives, researcher semester/summer stipend, domestic travel to conference, and publication costs.
    • For student applicants, the mentoring work of sponsors is considered part of their compensated academic teaching and research duties and therefore not eligible for salary support
  • Plan for Institutional Review Board submission (must be within 30 days of start of grant and must be approved and submitted before funds can be released)


The California Labor Lab provides resources to enhance the quality of proposals and to provide support to grantees. Please inquire if you are interested in the following types of support:

  • Up to one preliminary review of your proposal (preliminary reviewers will not review grants)
  • Research advisement on data collection, management, and statistical analysis for awardees
  • Mentors can be requested during the proposal process
  • Access to the baseline data from the Labor Lab's 2022 California Work and Health Survey (CWHS), a population-based survey of 5,000 working age Californians, focusing on work arrangements, job characteristics, physical and mental health, health behaviors, and financial well-being. (See the CWHS questionnaire outline for further detail).

Note: Applicants seeking a preliminary review, requesting mentorship from the Labor Lab, or use of CWHS datasets should submit letter of intent as soon as possible, but not later than 02/01/23.

Review Process

Proposals will be evaluated by at least two reviewers. Reviewers will rate each proposal according to the following criteria:

Relevance to worker health, safety, and well-being including relevance to Total Worker Health® , the mission of the CA Labor Lab, and/or (NORA) research priorities


Novelty of ideas or methods, or application of existing methods in a new context


Scientific merit and methodological quality


Qualification of applicant, institutional environment, and feasibility


Potential to lead to or strengthen long-term commitment to Labor Lab priority areas, to provide training experience for applicant, or to lead to future funding or career path in this area


Adequacy of dissemination plan


Appropriateness of proposed budget and timeline


Awardee Requirements

  • Willingness to present research at a California Labor Lab or COEH Webinar or symposium
  • Attendance to 4-6 research seminars per year for peer and California Labor Lab  faculty and staff input, virtual options available
  • Awards cannot be transferred to other individuals
  • IRB approval can take several weeks or even months and should be applied for as soon as possible and no later than within 30 days of submission of the research proposal. Distribution of any awarded funds cannot start before completed IRB approval.

Reporting Requirements

  • Changes in project scope, budget, or sponsorship always require prior approval.
  • Awardees will be required to provide brief progress reports every six months that provide the original aims, timeline and progress made toward aims.
  • Final written report within 30 days of the end of the budget period, including the following:
    • Title and Principal Investigator/co-investigators (or faculty sponsor)
    • Institution and/or other collaborating institutions
    • Time period
    • NORA goals addressed
    • Abstract (500 words)
    • Study objective and aims as approved
    • Detailed description of the work performed including a detailed methods of data collection and analysis
    • Results & interpretation
    • Conclusion including impact on future work
    • List of completed and planned publications and presentations
    • Trainees on project in addition to the Principal Investigator
  • A no-cost extension request should be made as soon as the need for an extension is known and before the end of the grant period.  Extensions in any report due dates should be requested before the deadline by emailing [email protected].