OHS Futures Research Grants

OHS Futures Research Grants

The OHS Futures program provides health and safety research funding – for academic institutions, industry and labour organizations.



Important dates

March 1, 2018: Notice of Intent period opens. Template is now available.

March 19, 2018  at 11:59 p.m. MDT: Notice of Intent period closes

Late March, 2018: Invites to complete OHS Futures full research application go out

May 7, 2018  at 11:59 p.m. MDT: Application period closes

Fall 2018: Applicants notified of their application results

The OHS Futures Research Funding Program formalizes the way researchers, academic institutions, industry, and labour organizations access funding for Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) research. It links government with experts and enhances OHS knowledge and capacity.

In previous years, OHS Futures received over 20 applications, and funded between seven and nine projects.

For more information on the terms and conditions, see the Grant Agreement Template.

Amount awarded

There’s no budget limit allotted per project. OHS Futures is distributing up to $1 million per year and is interested in funding a variety of OHS research proposals.

Show Answer Research priorities

With priority given to primary prevention of occupational injuries, illnesses and diseases in Alberta, the focus areas for the 2018 funding year are:

Focus Areas Examples of Policy Questions
Impairment in the workplace and fitness for work
Workers must be fit for work, and impairment arising from numerous possible causes (e.g. fatigue, health conditions, mental health, prescription and non-prescription drugs, etc.) can create a workplace hazard that employers need to control.
  • What workplace policies are effective at addressing impairment or fitness for work?
  • What effective resources are available for young workers regarding the health impacts of cannabis, from an OHS perspective?
  • Have changes in legislation led to impacts in impairment in the workplace?
  • What tools can employers use to assess impairment and fitness for work?
New and emerging occupational diseases
The scope of OHS has expanded to include broader concepts of health including public health, social determinants of health, wellness, and economic impacts. This expanded scope may also include identification of emerging occupational diseases, new notifiable diseases, and novel occupational exposures that have been associated with disease.
  • How do workplace hazards intersect with social determinants of health to impact OHS?
  • How can we ensure that workers are protected from cytotoxic, antineoplastic or psychoactive drug exposures in medical facilities, when there is the potential for contaminated materials to spread the exposure (ex. work surfaces, linens)?
  • Are there industries or occupations where chemical and radiation exposures need to be better controlled? What controls would be effective in mitigating exposures?
Psychosocial health and wellness
There is increasing emphasis on protecting psychosocial health and wellness in workplaces and preventing workplace violence and harassment.
  • What factors contribute to toxic workplace culture, including unwelcome conduct, comment, bullying or action in workplaces, and how can they be mitigated?
  • How can employers and workers protect mental health and foster resilience and psychological well-being in workplaces?
  • What is the impact of violence, including domestic and sexual, on Albertan workplaces and what are measures to mitigate those impacts?
  • What modifiable risk factors can help prevent workplace Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
OHS implications of emerging technologies and industries
Alberta’s workplaces are encountering new technologies (e.g. artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, robotics, drones, virtual reality, ‘green’ energy sources, nanomaterials, new ergonomic tools) and emerging industries (e.g. Cannabis production). It is necessary to identify potential OHS risks in order to develop mitigation strategies.
  • What chemical exposures or physical hazards may result from “green” construction materials and techniques and how can these be mitigated?
  • What are the potential implications of artificial intelligence technologies in the workplace and how can these be mitigated? How can OHS values/standards be incorporated into artificial intelligence programming?
  • What are the potential regulatory uses of new technology? (e.g. mobile sensors and measurement devices)
  • How do the hazards of traditional workplaces compare to the hazards of new and future workplaces? (e.g. taxis versus ridesharing)


Overarching considerations
Sex, gender and health and safety Preference will be given to studies that incorporate sex and gender considerations into research questions and study design.
Priority populations Research interest exists for these priority populations: Indigenous workers; aging workers; youth and young workers; vulnerable workers such as transient or migrant, immigrant or new workers; pregnant workers.
Prevention of Occupational Disease and Injury: Researchers must select whether their study results will be relevant to primary, secondary, or tertiary prevention of occupational injuries, illnesses and diseases in Alberta. Preference will be given to research informing primary prevention.
Primary prevention Primary prevention aims to prevent disease or injury before it ever occurs. This is done by preventing exposures to hazards that cause disease or injury, altering unhealthy or unsafe behaviours that can lead to disease or injury, and increasing resistance to disease or injury should exposure occur.
Secondary prevention Secondary prevention aims to reduce the impact of a disease or injury that has already occurred. This is done by detecting and treating disease or injury as soon as possible to halt or slow its progress, encouraging personal strategies to prevent re-injury or recurrence, and implementing programs to return people to their original health and function to prevent long-term problems.
Tertiary prevention Tertiary prevention aims to soften the impact of an ongoing illness or injury that has lasting effects. This is done by helping people manage long-term, often-complex health problems and injuries (e.g. chronic diseases, permanent impairments) in order to improve as much as possible their ability to function, their quality of life and their life expectancy.
Note: Proposals on topics different from those listed may also be considered. Please contact OHS Futures staff if you have questions: OHSFutures@gov.ab.ca


Show Answer How we use your information


The information you provide is being collected by the OHS Program to determine eligibility for potential funding related to the OHS Futures - Research Funding Program offered by the Government of Alberta under the OHS Program. If you choose to apply, the information you provide is collected pursuant to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and will be managed in accordance with the privacy provisions in the Act. Research data acquired from projects funded by the OHS Futures program posted on the Government of Alberta Open Data Portal will not include personal information.

If you have any questions about the collection of personal information, please contact the Information and Privacy Office at 780-644-2397; email: LBR.IPO@gov.ab.ca.

Data Sharing

The ability to share and improve access to research data greatly benefits the research community and society in the following ways: 1, 2

  • Promote and accelerate scientific progress;
  • Avoid duplication of the research;
  • Enable replication and verification of results;
  • Increase research visibility and impact;
  • Increase research efficiency due to reusability and exposure; and
  • Enhance collaboration and community-building.

Internal Department Usage

OHS Futures asks that a data set as detailed as possible be provided at the end of the study for internal government purposes only, e.g. to inform policies and processes, or to perform additional analyses. In accordance with our record retention policy, the validated research data submitted to the OHS Futures program will be appropriately managed and retained by the Informatics and Surveillance teams within the Department.

Open Data

Research data, as defined by the Government of Canada, are the factual records used as a primary source for the research, and that are commonly accepted in the research community as necessary to validate research findings.1 In support of data sharing and accessibility, the Government of Canada launched an online open data portal in March 2011 to provide public access to government data sets which can be reused for commercial or research purposes.1

Likewise, the Government of Alberta launched Alberta’s Open Data Portal in 2013. In 2014, it was announced that data sets acquired from research projects funded by the OHS Futures program would be accessible on the portal.

For the above mentioned benefits, data generated by research projects funded through the OHS Futures program must be submitted to the program at project completion. The data sets to be posted on the open data portal should be record level data, contain non-identifiable personal information and in a format acceptable to the government. When necessary the data will be appropriately aggregated to maintain privacy and confidentiality. Data will be posted on the open data portal within two years of project completion. Data must be in compliance with the Government of Alberta Open Information and Open Data Policy.

Exceptions may be made to the two-year deadline on a case-by-case basis where strong rationale exists and with agreement of the Department. If you have questions about the collection of your information, please contact 780-643-9214; email OHSFutures@gov.ab.ca.

1 Government of Canada Science.gc.ca. (2011). Open Access Research Data. Retrieved from http://www.science.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=en&n=2BBD98C5-1

2 Johns Hopkins Sheridan Libraries. (2015) About Sharing Your Research Data. Retrieved from http://dmp.data.jhu.edu/preserve-share-research-data/sharing-your-research-data/

Modified: 2018-03-01
PID: 15122

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