Funding Opportunities

Current Funding Opportunities

Broad Agency Announcement: Development and Demonstration of Mine Safety and Health Technology

Solicitation number: 75D301-20-R-67845

The Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006 (MINER Act) permanently established the Office of Mine Safety and Health Research under the direction of an Associate Director, within the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.  One purpose of this office is to enhance the development of new technology and technological applications, and to expedite the commercial availability and implementation of such technology in mining environments.  The MINER Act grants the Office of Mine Safety and Health Research the authority to (1) award competitive contracts and grants to institutions and private entities to encourage the development and manufacture of mine safety equipment and (2) award contracts to education institutions or private laboratories for the performance of product testing or related work with respect to new mine technology or equipment.  This announcement is an opportunity for the award of contracts for enhancing safety in mines.

The primary goal of the MINER Act technology mandate is to improve/increase the use of technology in mines to improve mineworker safety and health, and the intent of this broad agency announcement is to support enabling activities such as technology identification, validation, demonstration, adaptation, and/or commercialization. The Office of Mine Safety and Health Research of NIOSH is soliciting concept papers to conduct research, exploratory development, testing, or evaluations of new technologies to improve mine safety, or to adapt technologies from other industries for application in mining environments.  The primary interest of this broad agency announcement is to promote the modification or final development of practical technologies or systems that can be adopted by the mining community in a short period of time.  Under this specific solicitation, proposals to conduct theoretical or basic research will not be considered.  NIOSH strongly encourages proposals that include collaboration with mining industry partners who understand the reality of the mining environment and can provide insight into mine design requirements and potential commercialization of the technology.

The following examples are presented to further illustrate appropriate submissions under this solicitation beyond the more general guidance listed previously:

  • A safety and/or health technology that is currently in a prototype stage, which will require funding for final development and adaptation to the mining environment.  This could include modification of prototypes to account for operation in the challenging underground coal environment, modification to meet permissibility requirements, and/or demonstration of the technology at actual mine sites.
  • A safety and/or health technology that is currently being used in another industry and requires modification to be adapted for mining applications.  This could include system redesign, modification to meet permissibility requirements, in-mine testing to establish the efficacy of the technology, and/or demonstration of the technology at mine sites.
  • Analysis of candidate technologies to establish their potential to improve safety and/or health, and/or analyses of barriers to technology application or means of overcoming such barriers.
  • A safety and/or health technology that is fully developed and available for use but is not being adopted by the industry for reasons that require further analysis.  This could include developing an initial operational capability by installing the technology in one or more mines for evaluation and/or market analysis to determine the reasons the technology is not being adopted and the changes that would be necessary to make it acceptable to the industry.
  • Analysis of safety and health information in the surveillance area or other work that involves the extraction of predictive information that could produce useful data for identifying the future technology needs of the mining industry.

Fatality and injury data continue to highlight the need to develop new or improve existing technologies or adapt technologies from other industries to address safety and health issues in surface, and underground mines related to the coal, metal and non-metal, and stone, sand, and gravel industries. While NIOSH has typically provided a number of topical areas of importance to guide responders in addressing its highest priorities, this solicitation only includes one focus area as described below.  However, NIOSH encourages responders to propose solutions to other health and safety issues that are responsive to our guidelines; these proposals are evaluated under the same criteria as submittals under the focus area and receive equal consideration for funding.  

Concept papers will be accepted from the release of the solicitation through January 15, 2020. Full proposals for concept papers that are found to be technically acceptable will be due within 30 days after notification by the Contracting Officer. Work that will be completed in 24 months or less is desired, but is not a requirement; projects requiring up to 48 months will be considered. NIOSH estimates that the typical project under this solicitation will require between $200,000 and $300,000, although proposals for amounts up to $650,000 will be considered. Proposals submitted in excess of the $650,000 ceiling will not be evaluated nor considered for funding. It is estimated that about 6 to 10 awards will be made with approximately $2M to $5M available for this BAA.

Topical Area of Importance

NIOSH welcomes proposals in the surveillance area or other work that involves the extraction of predictive information that could produce useful data for identifying the future technology needs of the mining industry. As noted above, NIOSH also encourages proposals addressing health and safety issues outside of this area:

  1. Non-Regulatory Personal Measurement of Coal Dust and/or Silica

The prior three BAA solicitations included focus areas relating to a smaller, lighter, more ergonomic, and more economical version of the current continuous personal dust monitor for respirable coal dust and a similar mass-based, real-time dust monitoring unit to detect crystalline silica dust. While regulatory compliance currently requires mass-based measurement, NIOSH believes there is a market for units measuring coal dust, silica, or both, that are low enough in cost that they can be issued to every miner to provide near real-time results and allow miners to identify elevated dust/silica levels and take immediate corrective action to prevent overexposure. This continuing BAA focus area is included to stimulate potential research and development opportunities in this critical area. As background, the Continuous Personal Dust Monitor currently in use in underground coal mining (Thermo Scientific PDM3700) has significantly improved respirable coal dust monitoring capabilities and compliance with MSHA coal mine dust exposure regulations and demonstrated the value in providing exposure information directly to the miner. By limiting solutions to a mass-based unit to meet regulatory requirements however, many promising alternatives are eliminated. As a result, NIOSH has opened this solicitation to other measurements techniques with the aim of driving technology to the level where every miner, irrespective of job categorization, could be provided a personal wearable unit.

  1. Response Date:  This announcement will remain open until January 15, 2020.  Concept papers will be accepted from the release of the solicitation through January 15, 2020.  CONCEPT PAPERS SUBMITTED AFTER THE DEADLINE WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.  Full proposals for concept papers that are found to be technically acceptable will be due within 30 days after notification by the Contracting Officer.
     
  2. Inquiries and Additional Information: Information and specific questions of a technical business nature only will be accepted via e-mail sent to Contracting Officer, Diane Meeder, at the following address: DMeeder@cdc.gov.  Include your name and e-mail address on the message. Responses to the e-mail questions will be handled on a first-come basis and generally will be answered within 10 business days.

PHONE CALLS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

Responses will be accepted through 3 p.m. ET on January 15, 2020.

Read the full Broad Agency Announcement for detailed information, proposal guidelines, and submission instructions.

What has the NIOSH Mining Program looked for in past Broad Agency Announcements?

Sample 1:

Broad Agency Announcement: Capacity Building and Mining Systems Design Research for the Mining Industry - Through April 22, 2019

Solicitation number: 75D301-19-R-67888

Note: Responses are limited to U.S.-based programs that have an ABET-accredited degree program in mining or mineral engineering.

The Office of Mine Safety and Health Research (OMSHR), NIOSH, is soliciting proposals from universities or colleges specifically focused on aspects of mining systems design and/or research to conduct work that addresses: research, exploratory development, testing, of new innovations and technologies, and/or methods of evaluation of new and existing mining practices to improve mine health and/or safety.

The objective of this BAA is to address important mining systems design health and safety issues and to develop a new cohort of mine planning and design experts through graduate education, encompassing areas of ventilation and ground control as well as other mining technologies and support systems, through graduate education. Applicants are given significant flexibility in defining proposed research areas. As such, all basic or applied mine systems design research topics that have an impact on health and safety will be considered. Topics can be applicable to all types of surface or underground mining or can be pertinent to only a specific mining method or mineral commodity. Unlike past solicitations, the intent of the current effort is much broader than just mine ventilation or ground control, and all research topics related to mine systems design will be considered. Examples given below are health and safety areas included for illustrative purposes only and will not receive any priority in evaluation:

  • Mining at depth at elevated temperatures and/or in adverse ground conditions;
  • Novel mine designs or mining methods, including automation, which would minimize worker exposure;
  • Mine ventilation topics such as respirable coal mine dust, silica, and diesel particulate matter, which might impact the choice of mining method, control technologies, support systems, monitoring methods, etc.;
  • Ground control topics such as surface mine highwall stability, particularly as expanded to pit design, or design of underground openings adequate for the intended purpose.

A parallel intent of this solicitation is to provide an adequate supply of qualified mining engineers and professors specializing in aspects of mine planning and design to ensure the future health and safety of our nation's mine workers.

Contract awardees are expected to produce graduates with doctoral and/or master's degrees in mining or minerals engineering or a related field in an engineering discipline with a specialization in some aspect of mining systems design, including mine ventilation, mine ground control, mining systems simulation, or similar as well as new knowledge in the mine design realm. Additionally, NIOSH seeks contract offerors that are in tenure track or tenured faculty positions in mining or minerals engineering where a contract award and completion would advance their academic career, as well as enhance the capabilities of their academic department.

Contract awardees are expected to present and publish results on a periodic basis to promote dissemination of knowledge gained from the work. As a public health organization, NIOSH is required to provide evidence of such dissemination and extending the knowledge gained to the mining industry is an important part of the contract objectives.

Want to see the full text of this expired solicitation?

Read the full Broad Agency Announcement at FedBizOpps for detailed information, proposal guidelines, and submission instructions.

Sample 2:

Broad Agency Announcement: Development and Demonstration of Mine Safety and Health Technology - Expired January 7, 2019

Solicitation number: 2019-Q-69532

The Office of Mine Safety and Health Research of NIOSH is soliciting concept papers to conduct research, exploratory development, testing, or evaluations of new technologies to improve mine safety, or to adapt technologies from other industries for application in mining environments. The primary interest of this broad agency announcement is to promote the modification or final development of practical technologies or systems that can be adopted by the mining community in a short period of time.

Under this specific solicitation, proposals to conduct theoretical or basic research will not be considered. NIOSH encourages proposals that include collaboration with mining industry partners who understand the reality of the mining environment and can provide insight into mine design requirements and potential commercialization of the technology.

High-priority health and safety topic areas include the development of:

  • Non-regulatory personal measurement of coal dust and/or silica dust
  • Next generation underground communications systems
  • Intrinsically safe, full-shift video recording capability for utilization of Helmet-CAM technology for underground coal mines
  • Investigations related to the NAS report “Monitoring and Sampling Approaches to Assess Underground Coal Mine Dust Exposures”
  • Strata horizon monitoring for continuous miner head and/or longwall shearer cutting to minimize operator exposure
  • Assessment of safety of underground equipment multi-cell battery power systems

These topic areas are provided to guide responders in addressing NIOSH’s highest priorities; however, NIOSH strongly encourages responders to propose solutions to health and safety issues that are outside of these areas. In addition, NIOSH welcomes proposals in the surveillance area or other work that involves the extraction of predictive information that could produce useful data for identifying the future technology needs of the mining industry.

Want to see the full text of this expired solicitation?

Read the full Broad Agency Announcement at FedBizOpps.

Sample 3:

Broad Agency Announcement: Development and Demonstration of Mine Safety and Health Technology - Expired January 16, 2018

Solicitation number: 2018-N-67627

The Office of Mine Safety and Health Research of NIOSH is soliciting concept papers to conduct research, exploratory development, testing, or evaluations of new technologies to improve mine safety, or to adapt technologies from other industries for application in mining environments. The primary interest of this broad agency announcement is to promote the modification or final development of practical technologies or systems that can be adopted by the mining community in a short period of time.

Under this specific solicitation, proposals to conduct theoretical or basic research will not be considered. NIOSH encourages proposals that include collaboration with mining industry partners who understand the reality of the mining environment and can provide insight into mine design requirements and potential commercialization of the technology.

High-priority health and safety topic areas include the development of:

  • Low-cost personal gas monitor to assess breathable air
  • SCSR/CCER communications
  • Miniaturized CPDM with silica measurement capability
  • Application of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in GPS-denied environments
  • Develop Helmet-CAM technology for underground coal mines

These topic areas are provided to guide responders in addressing NIOSH’s highest priorities; however, NIOSH strongly encourages responders to propose solutions to health and safety issues that are outside of these areas. In addition, NIOSH welcomes proposals in the surveillance area or other work that involves the extraction of predictive information that could produce useful data for identifying the future technology needs of the mining industry

Want to see the full text of this expired solicitation?

Read the full Broad Agency Announcement at FedBizOpps.

Sample 4:

Broad Agency Announcement: Development and Demonstration of Mine Safety and Health Technology - Expired January 17, 2017

Solicitation number: 2017-N-18045

The Office of Mine Safety and Health Research, NIOSH, is soliciting concept papers to conduct research, exploratory development, testing, or evaluations of new technologies to improve mine safety, or to adapt technologies from other industries for application in mining environments. The primary interest of this broad agency announcement is to promote the modification or final development of practical technologies or systems that can be adopted by the mining community in a short period of time.

Under this specific solicitation, proposals to conduct theoretical or basic research will not be considered. NIOSH encourages collaboration with mining industry partners who understand the reality of the mining environment and can provide insight into mine design requirements and potential commercialization of the technology.

High-priority health and safety topic areas include the development of

  • atmospheric monitoring systems (AMS) that meet mine operational needs while having a high probability of post-disaster survivability;
  • mine ventilation systems (MVS) that are linked in real time with AMS technology;
  • a smaller, lighter, more ergonomic, and more economical version of the current continuous personal dust monitor for respirable coal dust;
  • a similar mass-based, real-time dust monitoring unit to detect crystalline silica dust;
  • a system similar to--or building upon--the existing Helmet-CAM dust exposure assessment technology that can be used in the low lighting environment of underground coal mines;
  • active (triggered) barriers that might be employed in underground coal mines to suppress the possibility of a propagating explosion; and
  • methodologies to statistically analyze the volumes of data generated at mines to develop relative risk indices or matrices.

These topic areas are provided to guide responders in addressing NIOSH’s highest priorities; however, NIOSH strongly encourages proposals related to health and safety issues outside these topic areas. NIOSH also welcomes proposals in the surveillance area or other work that involves the extraction of predictive information that could produce useful data for identifying the future technology needs of the mining industry.

Responses were accepted through 3:00 pm EST on January 17, 2017. 

Read the full Broad Agency Announcement at FedBizOpps for detailed information, proposal guidelines, and submission instructions.

Information on Current and Past Contracts

Page last reviewed: 1/9/2020 Page last updated: 11/27/2019