Student-Led Summer Pilot Grant Program

We are no longer accepting proposals for student-led pilot project proposals at this time.


Please contact Russ Foushee, Center Coordinator (, 319-335-4405).

GPCAH Mission

The Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health (GPCAH) is a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-funded Center for Agricultural Disease and Injury Research, Education, and Prevention. The GPCAH is dedicated to protecting the health and safety of farmers, ranchers, farmworkers, their families, and agricultural community members in the Midwest and beyond. The goals of the Center are achieved through basic and applied research, education and training, community outreach, and translation of research findings into effective interventions for the prevention of agricultural injury and illness.

The GPCAH is a regional center addressing priority occupational safety and health needs of agricultural workers in IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MO, MN, ND, NE, OH, SD, and WI.

The purpose of the GPCAH Pilot/Feasibility Projects Program is to serve as an incubator for new agricultural health and safety research, prevention, intervention, community outreach, and translation projects that have high likelihood of leading to more comprehensive projects or activities.

Objective and Scope of this Request for Proposals (RFP)

This RFP seeks applications for small, student-led pilot research projects with a scope of work amenable to be completed and all expenses incurred by September 29, 2021. The total funding request may not exceed $5,000 (including direct and indirect costs, as applicable). All funding is conditional on continued availability of funds allocated by NIOSH to the GPCAH. We anticipate funding up to five projects responsive to this RFP.

Because of the limited funding available per project and the shortened timeline, investigators must carefully consider the feasibility of the proposed scope of wok. Although we will consider all proposals regardless of research type (i.e., basic/etiologic, intervention, translational, or surveillance), the following examples highlight research activities that may be optimally suited for the funding/time constraints of these awards:

  • Secondary analyses of an existing dataset, or a combination of existing datasets, to explore a novel agricultural safety and health research question
  • Systematic reviews / meta-analyses of occupational health problems in agriculture
  • Development and/or validation of innovative methods of assessing agricultural exposures
  • Pilot testing of a new agricultural safety and health educational activity or resource
  • Benchtop/lab testing of a novel engineering control

Note that responsive applications will have at least one clear scientific objective that fills a justified gap in agricultural safety and health knowledge.

Applications are due by close of business on Monday, April 5, 2021.


Any student with an interest in agricultural safety or health and appropriate knowledge, skills, and resources to carry out the proposed project is invited to prepare an application. For the purposes of this RFP, “student” is defined as a person enrolled in an institution of higher education (public or private, non-profit or for-profit) with the objective of obtaining an academic or professional degree. Undergraduate students, graduate students, and professional students (including those in colleges of medicine, dentistry, nursing, law, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine) are eligible. Each student principal investigator must identify a faculty sponsor, and a letter of support from the faculty sponsor must be included with the application.

Individuals from under-represented groups as well as individuals with disabilities are especially encouraged to apply. Applications from individuals affiliated with institutions within the GPCAH service region will receive priority. Applications from individuals affiliated with institutions outside the GPCAH service region will be considered, but at a lower priority.


Funding is available for the usual categories of NIH grant direct costs including personnel salary and fringe, supplies, equipment, data analysis activities, office expenses, and travel necessary for project completion (travel to trade, scientific/technical, or professional association meetings is not allowable).

The maximum permitted budget for a project is limited to $5,000, including direct and indirect costs.

Investigators affiliated with the University of Iowa should not include indirect costs in their budgets. Investigators affiliated with institutions other than the University of Iowa are permitted to include indirect costs in their budgets. However, investigators should carefully consider the impact of indirect costs on the scope of work proposed, and may wish to discuss with their institution officials the indirect cost rate that will be applied.

All requested expenses must be fully justified and tied directly to the project. Additional information and justification should be provided within the budget justification for select items of cost, including:

  • Technological/IT equipment (e.g., laptops, iPads, Fitbits, and the like): must be project-specific, fully justified, directly allocable to the project, and necessary for completion of the scientific objective(s)
  • Software or software licenses: must be project-specific and necessary for completion of the scientific objective(s)
  • Research-related food/meals: must be directly related to completion of the scientific objective(s); food for meetings/conferences is not allowable

Review Process

Applications will be evaluated by a review panel of experts both internal and external to the GPCAH. Reviewers will consider priorities expressed in the “Priorities” section of CDC NIOSH PAR-11-022 ( Each principal investigator of an application deemed responsive to this RFP will receive a written critique, regardless of funding decision.


Proposal reviews will be completed and applicants will be notified of funding status on or before May 5, 2021. Projects must be completed and all expenses incurred by September 29, 2021.

The release of funds to applicant organizations is contingent upon compliance with federal regulations. Investigators conducting research involving humans and/or animal subjects are encouraged to initiate any applicable human subjects (IRB) or animal care review approval or certification processes as soon as possible. Documentation of IRB approval or a determination from an IRB that the project is does not meet criteria for human subjects research must be submitted to the GPCAH before funds can be released. If you have questions regarding whether a project requires IRB approval, please contact H. Russ Foushee, Center Coordinator (, 319-335-4405).

Reporting Requirements

The student principal investigator of each funded project will be required to provide a brief, written final project report within 90 days of project completion. The GPCAH will provide specific instructions regarding the required content of the final project report.

The faculty advisor of each funded project will be required to respond to a brief “impact survey” each year for 2-3 years following completion of the project. The impact survey will ask about (1) the career path of the student principal investigator, (2) presentations/publications resulting from the project since submission of the final project report, and (3) any follow-up on scholarly activity resulting from the project (e.g., new student research activities related to the project, new grants/contracts that the results supported).

Publications, journal articles, presentations, theses and dissertations, and similar works relating to GPCAH-supported pilot projects are required to include the following statement: “This [publication, journal article, presentation, etc.] was supported, in part, by grant number U54 OH007548 from CDC-NIOSH. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the CDC, NIOSH, or the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health.”

Application Submission Procedure

Send by electronic mail one copy of both the signed cover letter and one complete PDF version of the full proposal to When submitting your application, you must:

  • Include the phrase “GPCAH Student Pilot Grant Submission” in the subject line of the pilot grant proposal submission email.
  • Check for a confirmation email from the Pilot Project Coordinator to ensure receipt of your email. If this does not happen within a week, call the Pilot Project Coordinator, Russ Foushee, at 319-335-4405.YOUR APPLICATION HAS NOT BEEN RECEIVED IF YOU DO NOT GET A CONFIRMATION EMAIL.
  • Ensure that your application was received by GPCAH staff by the close of business on Monday, April 5th, 2021. Confirmation emails from the Project Coordinator may occur after this due date.

Additional Assistance

Applicants are encouraged to contact H. Russ Foushee, Center Coordinator (, 319-335-4405) or Nate Fethke, GPCAH Pilot/Feasibility Projects Program Director, (, 319-467-4563) with questions.

Required Application Content Page Limits
1)       Cover letter
Include project title
Signed by an appropriate official and written on organization letterhead
Include 1-2 sentences about the project’s potential impact
2)       Front page
Date, title, investigator/organization name(s), and abstract (150 word limit)By submitting this proposal, you agree to the following (which must appear on the front page of your application):

This pilot grant application is not currently under review by any other grant administering program.  If I submit this pilot grant application (or an application with similar aims) to another funder while it is under review by GPCAH, I will notify GPCAH.  I understand that failure to comply with this policy is grounds for rejection of the application and withdrawal of any funds that may be awarded.
3) Research Plan

The Research Plan should address the following:

A)      What is(are) the specific aim(s) and hypothesis(es)

B)       Briefly describe the Significance and Innovation of the project

C)       Briefly describe the Approach (include information about data sources and/or data collection procedures, independent and dependent variables, and anticipated analytic procedures)

D)      Briefly describe the expected outputs of the project (i.e., what will be the scientific deliverables?)


The Significance section must

· Establish the burden of the agricultural safety and health problem to be addressed, the need for the proposed research, and the potential impact of the research. See:

· Identify specific NIOSH strategic priorities for extramural research and/or specific goals/objectives within the National Occupational Research Agendas for Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing to be addressed. See:

4)       References No page limit
5)       Budget and budget justification No page limit
6)       Timeline and milestones 1
7)       Planned enrollment table (for projects involving human subjects research) Required table
8)       Biographical sketches (NIH format) 5 (per person)

9)       Letter(s) of support

Letters of support are useful to demonstrate access to an employer/employee population or dataset needed for success of the research. A letter of support from the faculty sponsor is required.

No page limit