Sponsor Deadline
Posted: 5/3/2023

Call for Proposals for the Carolina Center for Healthy Work Design & Worker Well-Being Pilot Project Program

The Carolina Center for Healthy Work Design & Worker Well-Being (henceforth, Carolina Center) announces the availability of funding for 2 pilot research projects, as below.

  • Two (2) funded pilot projects that align with the Total Worker Health® framework.
    • Each project will be funded for up to $12,000; to be completed in 12-18 months.

The Carolina Center (https://healthywork.unc.edu/ ) is based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with an interdisciplinary team of investigators from the School of Nursing, the School of Medicine, the Department of Exercise Science and Sports, the School of Public Health, as well as from the UNC-Greensboro and Research Triangle International, with funding from the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH), a branch agency of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Goals of the Pilot Projects Program (PPP):  The goal of the Carolina Center’s Pilot Projects Program (PPP) is to cultivate innovative research that builds an evidence base for Total Worker Health (TWH), which is defined as “policies, programs, and practices that integrate protection from work-related safety and health hazards with promotion of injury and illness-prevention efforts to advance worker well-being”. The TWH approach prioritizes a hazard-free work environment for all workers” by addressing prioritized, unresolved, and critically important occupational health and safety (OHS) issues. In short, the TWH approach integrates the areas of occupational safety and worker health into a single framework. The TWH framework reflects a more holistic approach to understanding how to promote a healthier workforce. More information on the TWH framework can be found here.

For investigators interested in expanding their research into the area of social determinants of health (SDOH), the TWH approach offers opportunities for doing so.  More information about work as a SDOH can be found here, as well as on the CDC Healthy People website.


To assist investigators who might be less familiar with Total Worker Health (TWH), and who may need some initial guidance in directing a project idea that aligns with TWH, Drs. Kneipp & Nylander-French will host Zoom "open hours", where you may drop in to explore ideas you have for a project and receive some initial guidance.  The Zoom link for each of these sessions is: 


Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 939 9797 2482

Passcode: 271709

And the dates & times for drop-in are:

Tuesday, May 9, 3p-4p

Thursday, May 25, 3p-4p

Thursday, June 1, 3p-4p

Friday, June 9, 3p-4p

If you have any questions or would like to speak with us about your ideas but are unable to attend the above open sessions, please do not hesitate to reach out to either Dr. Leena Nylander-French, at leena_french@unc.edu or Dr. Shawn Kneipp, at skneipp@email.unc.edu.

A letter of intent with a 1 paragraph description of the project must be received electronically by July 14, 2023.

All proposals must be received electronically by the due date of August 1, 2023.

Areas of Interest

The pilot projects are intended to (1) support research related to current and emerging worker health issues and threats, (2) engage post-doctoral fellows, junior faculty, and experienced investigators new to TWH to develop or extend their programs of research using a TWH framework, with a special emphasis to support researchers from underserved and underrepresented groups, (3) test a new method or approach for building new knowledge in TWH, (4) test new approaches for building capacity for TWH in the workforce, and (5) engage communities to improve worker health and well-being. Research proposed in pilot project proposals should advance the theory, methods of scientific inquiry, and/or knowledge of the effectiveness (outcomes) and mechanisms (processes driving outcomes) of the TWH approach. Applicants should address how the proposed research addresses the 3rd decade of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) priorities based on the Burden, Need, and Impact (BNI) method.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility: Investigators from several universities and/or research institutions in North Carolina are eligible to apply (see list at end of document). Postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty are eligible to apply as PIs so long as they have included a mentor with expertise in TWH and OHS. These pilot funds may be used by new investigators to collect data needed to successfully apply for other larger grants. Senior faculty who want to pursue a new interest in TWH are also eligible to apply because we want to encourage investigators from other fields of study (e.g., economics, law, politics, health services, business, and more) to apply their expertise to TWH research. Investigators who identify from an underserved or underrepresented group, such as Black, Hispanic, Asian-American, and Native American ethnicities, are particularly encouraged to apply.

A faculty member or post-doctoral fellow from the institutions below is eligible to apply:

UNC-Chapel Hill

Duke University

NC State University

Appalachian State University

East Carolina University

Elizabeth City State University

Fayetteville State University

North Carolina A&T University

North Carolina Central University







Western Carolina University

Winston-Salem State University

Wake Forest University

Sunshine Education and Research Center at University of South Florida

Central Appalachian Regional Education and Research Center and Southeast Center for Agricultural Health & Injury Prevention at University of Kentucky

Deep South Center for Occupational Health & Safety at University of Alabama Birmingham

Southeastern Coastal Center for Agricultural Health and Safety at University of Florida

Amount Description

The PPP will provide seed money (up to $12,000) for investigators to conduct short-term projects (12-18-months) that advance worker health and well-being. To build the scientific basis for TWH, projects that incorporate novel methods for understanding TWH will be encouraged. We anticipate funding at least two pilot projects during this funding cycle.