The Pilot Project Program facilitates specialized research training of graduate students, junior faculty or new investigators, and promotes the development of multi-disciplinary research addressing NORArelated topics in the areas of occupational health or safety. The Southern California NIOSH Education and Research Center (ERC) awards for one-year pilot projects to support occupational health and safety research training for students (including ERC trainees), new investigators, and new faculty (within 6 years of initial appointment). Funding is provided for small research projects or pilot studies to explore feasibility, to collect preliminary data, and to enable investigators to seek external, longer-term funding. Applications need to address topics relevant to NORA research areas, including cross sector goals.

Who should Apply

Students and young investigators are particularly encouraged to apply, and with all other factors equal, will receive funding priority. Non-faculty must have a full-time faculty member to sponsor their project. Faculty sponsors and students must be identified as such in the proposal. Projects involving human subjects should apply for human subject approval from their IRB at the earliest opportunity and attach their submitted human subject protocol to the research proposal. All pilot project grantees are required to submit quarterly progress reports and to present their research results, if selected, in the fall of the following year at an ERC-wide meeting. In addition, grantees are expected to present their research at a scientific conference or to submit a manuscript based on their research results to a peer-reviewed journal.

How to Apply

Submit a one-page work document of a Letter of Intent describing the proposed project via email to Dr. Krause ( and cc Dr. Arias ( with a heading, ‘ERC pilot LOI.’

Applications must include:

• Cover page with title, contact information, faculty sponsor if applicant is a trainee, NORA sector and
occupational safety and health area(s) addressed by the proposal, and the status of IRB approval;
• Abstract of the proposal (maximal 250 words);
• Description of the project (3-5 pages, plus bibliography);
• Human subjects protocol as draft or as submitted to local IRB;
• Budget and budget justification for a 12-15 month period ending no later than September 15, 2017;
• Bio-sketch (NIH format) of applicant (and faculty sponsor(s) if applicable).

Applications will be subjected to peer review. Awardees will be asked to respond to reviewers’ comments
before a final decision is being made. Funding may begin as early as June 15, 2016, or if human subjects
are involved after IRB approval has been obtained. The primary review criteria are:
1) Relevance to workplace health and safety and NORA research areas
2) Scientific merit / methodological quality
3) Qualification of applicant, institutional environment, and feasibility
4) Stimulation of interdisciplinary research and translation into practice
5) Likelihood of resulting in publication in a peer-reviewed journal
6) Likelihood of leading to future external funding
7) Novelty of ideas, methods, or application in a new occupational context
8) Appropriateness of budget and evidence that the proposed work is not otherwise funded


SCERC PPRT Funded Pilot Research Projects 2015-2016

Awardee NameInstitute StatusResearch Project Title
Charlene NguyenUCLAMaster Student, EHS, IH ProgramA New Indoor Air Mitigation Strategy for Nail Salons Based on Correlations Between Indoor Air Quality and Occupancy
Teofilia AcheampongUC IrvineDoctoral Student, EpidemiologyOccupational Exposures and Risk of Breast Cancer: The Singapore Chinese Health Study
Javier Garcia-RivasUC IrvineDoctoral Student, Public HealthExploring working conditions and injury among Day Laborers in Orange County
Negar OmidakhshUCLADoctoral Student, EpidemiologyPaternal occupational exposures and risk of sporadic retinoblastoma among offspring.
Nicolas Lopez-GalvezU. ArizonaDoctoral Student, EHSAn Observational Pilot Study of the Effect of Heat Stress on Pesticide Exposure in Migrant Farmworkers in Sonora, Mexico
Deborah CurtisUCLADoctoral Student, OEHNThe association between work place racism obesity and shiftwork among African American nurses
Abdullah KhafagyUCSFPostdoctoral Researcher, OEM ResidentEvaluation of the occupational cardiovascular strain of the hotel housekeepers resulting from high levels of physical activity while making beds and cleaning hotel rooms
Jonah LipsittUCLADoctoral Student, EHSPhysical Activity Through Sustainable Transport Activities (PASTA) in Los Angeles
Vahe KhachadourianUCLADoctoral Student, EpidemiologyBack pain burden and its determinants among vulnerable farmers: from empirical analysis to simulated policies
Dal Lae ChinUCSFPost-doctoral Researcher, OEHNAssociation of Occupational Noise Exposure with Cardiovascular Diseases
among Career Firefighters
Venkat VenkatasubramanianUC BerkeleyMaster student, Business AdministrationForce, repetition and posture estimations of the distal upper extremity using surface
electromyography and inertial measurement units
Rania Sabty-DailyUCLANew Investigator, Industrial Hygienist, Labor and Occupational Safety and Health Program (LOSH)Design a Heat App (for use with smart phone technology), as a tool for heat illness intervention, training and data collection among construction
day laborers in California

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