OHS Futures Research Grants

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

Services and information

The following research projects were funded by the OHS Futures program.

OHS Futures Research Grants has been reviewed as part of Budget 2019: A plan for jobs and the economy.

Important dates

Fall 2019: 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 (PDF, 312 KB).

Research priorities

The research priorities for the 2019 funding year are as follows, with particular focus on primary prevention of occupational injuries, illnesses and diseases in Alberta.

Policy Statements Examples of Policy Questions
Physical Hazards
A significant proportion of occupational injuries and disease are due to musculoskeletal disorders due to repetitive use, overexertion and heavy lifting; slips, trips and falls; and motor vehicle incidents.
  • What workplace policies or programs are effective at addressing these hazards?
  • What effective resources are available to vulnerable workers or small businesses regarding these hazards?
  • What tools can employers use to prevent these physical hazards?
New and emerging occupational diseases
Workers are potentially exposed to new chemicals in the workplace that may be linked to disease. There is a need for the identification of emerging occupational diseases, new notifiable diseases, novel occupational exposures that have been associated with disease, and historical exposures that are now being associated with diseases, particularly cancers.
  • What new workplace exposures may result in disease and how can those exposures be reduced or avoided?
  • Are there industries or occupations where chemical and radiation exposures need to be better controlled? What controls would be effective in mitigating exposures?
  • Are there historical workplace exposures that are now being associated with latent disease?
Violence, psychological hazards and impairment

There is increasing emphasis on preventing workplace violence and harassment and preventing psychosocial hazards in workplaces. In addition, 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 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 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?
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. More information is available for integrating sex and gender into research.
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; small businesses.
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.
Proposals on topics different from those listed will be considered. Contact OHS Futures staff if you have questions: ohsfutures@gov.ab.ca


Eligible applicants

To be eligible for a research grant, your organization must be Canadian-based. However, international collaborations are encouraged.

The Principal Applicant and Co-Applicant(s):

  • cannot be full-time employees of any Government of Alberta ministries
  • must have the qualifications and appropriate expertise to conduct the proposed research
  • must agree to data sharing within the time period outlined in the grant agreement
  • must provide interim reports and a final report within the time period outlined in the grant agreement
  • must be willing to complete evaluation surveys, provide information/summary resources in layperson terms, and present research findings at two designated meetings

If you are not part of an academic institution, we strongly suggest partnering with a researcher at an academic institution. Contact us at ohsfutures@gov.ab.ca if you require assistance in connecting to industry and/or researchers.

Eligible projects

Eligible research projects:

  • should meet the 2019 research priorities
  • should be completed within 18 months, including knowledge transfer
  • must directly impact Alberta workers and workplaces or inform policy and practices that will directly impact Alberta workers and workplaces

Multi-year projects

Multi-year projects require new submissions for each year of the project, and are not guaranteed funding from year-to-year.

If an applicant has a multi-year project in mind, they must outline all the years in the Notice of Intent and application for the first year of funding to allow OHS Futures to get a sense of the overall project.

For each year of funding after the first year, the application must explain that the new application builds upon the results of a previously funded research project.

Ineligible projects

The following projects are not eligible for funding:

  • projects that are required to be completed under law
  • drug trials or efficacy research
  • for-profit product development
  • high performance computing platforms
  • product efficacy or endorsement
  • capital purchases

How to apply

Trouble opening or completing PDF forms?

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  1. Click on the PDF link to save it on your computer.
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  3. Open the PDF from within Adobe Reader. You can now fill and save your form.

Step 1. Read background documents

Grant Agreement Template (PDF, 312 KB): outlines the terms and conditions for funds received through this grant program.

Government of Alberta Open Information and Open Data Policy: to comply with this policy, project data will be posted on the open data portal within 2 years of project completion.

Step 2. Complete and submit the notice of intent

The Notice of Intent template (PDF, 85 KB) and instructions (PDF, 154 KB) are available. The Notice of Intent allows OHS Futures staff to evaluate the pertinence of a proposed project (in relation to OHS Futures priorities) prior to requesting a detailed research application.

Submit the Notice of Intent to ohsfutures@gov.ab.ca.

If you do not submit a Notice of Intent, you will not be eligible to apply for OHS Futures funding.

Step 3. Notice of Intent review

Once the Notice of Intent has been submitted, it will be reviewed to ensure that it is complete, that the proposed research project meets the eligibility criteria and research priorities, and that the proposed research is pertinent to workers and workplaces in Alberta.

Success at this stage will result in an invitation to submit an application. The invitation to submit a full application form does not guarantee funding. A completed application is required, and will be adjudicated accordingly.

OHS program staff are here to provide feedback on your Notice of Intent and mentor you through the application process. Meetings will be set up to discuss your research idea prior to you completing the full application.

Step 4. Read background documents again

See Step 2.

Step 5. Complete and submit a full application

As part of the full application form, you are required to recommend two peer-reviewers. Prior to beginning this work, please review the Conflict of Interest Guidelines (PDF, 266 KB).

If you have questions about your application, you are encouraged to contact OHS Program staff.

After you apply

After you submit the full application, the following steps occur:

  1. External review
    • Applications undergo review by two external reviewers.
      • This review evaluates the applications for scientific soundness and budget appropriateness
  2. Internal review
    • Applications are evaluated by Ministry of Labour staff, who evaluate applications based on:
      • the alignment with the research priorities
      • the reach and impact of the proposed research on Alberta workers and employers
      • timeline for results
      • external review results
  3. Funding decision
    • A decision is made by the Department after the review processes are completed.
    • Applicants will be notified of the results of their applications in fall 2019.

Reporting and conditions

For information on the reporting terms and conditions, see the Grant Agreement Template (PDF, 312 KB).

How we use your information


Disclaimer: The information you provide is being collected by Alberta Labour to determine eligibility for potential funding related to the OHS Futures - Research Funding Program. If you choose to apply, the information you provide is collected under the authority of Section 33 (c) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act and is managed in accordance with Part 2 of the FOIP 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, contact the OHS Futures program.

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 department.

Open Data

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 Alberta 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 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, email ohsfutures@gov.ab.ca.

Current recipients

See current and past research projects that were funded by the OHS Futures program.


Connect with this grant program:
Email: ohsfutures@gov.ab.ca

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