Frequently Asked Questions about the Commercial Fishing Occupational Safety Research & Training Program
The U.S. Coast Guard and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are working together to provide funding for fishing safety research and training through cooperative agreements and grants. The following FAQs address particulars of the program, submission processes, and provide applicants with “go-to” resources.
The goal of the fishing safety research program is to foster and enhance new research on methods of improving the safety of the commercial fishing industry, including:
- vessel design
- emergency and survival equipment
- enhancement of vessel monitoring systems
- communications devices
- de-icing technology
- severe weather detection
The goal of the fishing safety training project grant program is to enhance the quality and availability of safety training for United States commercial fishermen. The specific objectives of the program are to:
- address the training needs of commercial fishermen with regional differences and specific fleets in mind,
- increase the number of qualified maritime safety instructors and drill conductors in the United States to conduct these types of trainings,
- develop, offer, and implement “train the trainer” and refresher courses,
- develop and deliver hands on safety training to commercial fishermen, and
- provide qualified instructors and faculty to achieve the goals of this program.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) administers the program through a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Coast Guard signed in 2018.
Before beginning the grant application process, you should make sure you or your organization is eligible to apply for the grant. Check your group’s eligibility in the Funding Opportunity Announcement. This is plainly listed in the “Eligibility” section of the FOA online.
Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research or training project grant as the Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) is invited to work with their organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, as well as other groups who have been traditionally economically/socially marginalized are always encouraged to apply for HHS/CDC support.
Fishing Safety Research: $3,000,000 and Fishing Safety Training: $3,000,000
The minimum amount awarded is $150,000 and the maximum amount is $975,000. Be aware, these grants come with a cost matching requirement which must be included in the total amount of the award.
The current Federal cost match requirement is 25% of the funds awarded. For example, if you are awarded the maximum amount of $975,000, your group or organization is required to provide $243,750 as your non-federal share. The federal share is $731,250. The matching percentage is non-negotiable and is calculated as a percentage of the total proposed cost.
You can use program income (such as revenue generated from the project), subrecipient costs (like paying for sub-contractors), in-kind support (gifts or donations of time or material), and indirect costs (things like overhead and operational costs not directly related to the project) to fulfil the cost match requirements.
Use of other federal funds for matching is not allowed. For example, funds awarded from another federal agency (NOAA, USDA, etc.) cannot be used for the cost match requirement.
Awards are made for a single 36-month budget period or for the entire 3 years of the project period.
Tuition and travel stipends are allowable costs. You should contact the Grants Management Official or Scientific Program Official listed in funding opportunity announcement if you have additional questions on allowable costs.
To apply for go to www.grants.gov and click on the “Applicants” tab. From there you can complete several tasks including check eligibility, get registered, and apply for grants.
The site features a Grants Learning Center that guides you through the application process and answers other questions you have about grants.
The next deadlines are the following: January 30, 2024; August 27, 2024; January 28, 2025; August 26, 2025; January 27, 2026; August 25, 2026; January 26, 2027.
All applications are due by 5:00 PM U.S. Eastern Time.
The purpose of these grants is to support commercial fishing research projects and training efforts among organizations, entities or individuals with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry these projects out. While this funding is not granted to individual fishermen, the intention is for these funding opportunities to benefit fishermen in the short and long term. If you know of organizations or members of organizations who can be encouraged to apply for these grants, please pass the word along.
Those conducting this research or developing trainings do so to better understand issues within the commercial fishing industry and to contribute to the safety of all fishermen. Commercial fishing remains one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States, characterized by hazardous working conditions, strenuous labor, long work hours and harsh weather conditions. The hazards fishermen face varies widely by type of fishing vessel and fishery in which they participate, including the associated gear used to catch seafood. Safety research and training that addresses what works best in a specific fleet and/or region is critical to help keep fishermen safe. Additional research, innovation, and critical safety training could lower their risk of injury and death. These opportunities will help to improve the health and safety of these workers.
Fishermen in various regions across the United States are benefitting from the research and trainings developed through this grant. To read more about impact, visit here.
Tips for Application Development
Proposed goals and objectives should be clearly stated in the application and directly linked to the occupational health and safety burdens being addressed. NIOSH uses the Burden, Need, and Impact method to define research priorities. Applicants are expected to justify their proposal by describing the burden of the problem (the evidence of the health, safety, or economic cost for the population), the need (for example the current state of availability in the area or equitable access for all groups) for the proposed research or activity, and the potential for impact or likelihood of success.
Tailored research objectives for distinct geographic regions or fleets are encouraged. Research objectives supported by these grants include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Identification and investigation of the relationships between hazardous working conditions and associated occupational injuries and fatalities;
- Development of more sensitive means of evaluating hazards at work sites, including fatigue, stress, or the use of opioids as contributors to occupational injuries and fatalities;
- Development of methods for measuring leading indicators of injuries and fatalities;
- Development of new protective equipment and engineering control technology to reduce work-related injuries and fatalities;
- Development of work practices that reduce the risks of occupational hazards; and
- Evaluation of the technical feasibility or application of a new or improved occupational safety procedure, method, technique, or system, including assessment of economic and other factors that influence their diffusion and successful adoption in workplaces.
Proposed goals and objectives should be clearly stated in the application and directly linked to the occupational health and safety burdens being addressed. NIOSH uses the Burden, Need, and Impact method to define research priorities. Applicants are expected to justify their proposal by describing the burden of the problem (the evidence of the health, safety, or economic cost for on the population), the need for the proposed training or activity (for example the current state of availability in the area or equitable access for all groups), and the potential for impact or likelihood of success.
Applicants should justify the choice of location in terms of need, potential impact (for example, the number of commercial fishermen trained, changes in competencies/behavior relevant to health and safety improvements, and reductions in incidents), as well as accessibility, feasibility, and cost.
Ideally, training should be hands-on and occur in fishing communities on or near the water. Applicants should also provide information on the frequency of the training, along with characteristics of the commercial fishermen who will be trained. The application must clearly identify the professional and experiential credentials of those performing the training.
A grant is an assistance mechanism providing money, property, or both to an eligible entity to carry out an approved project or activity. A grant is a way the government funds your ideas and projects to provide public services and stimulate the economy.
A cooperative agreement is a support mechanism used when there will be substantial Federal scientific or programmatic involvement in the project. Substantial involvement means that, after award, government scientific or program staff will assist, guide, coordinate, or participate in project activities.
This is the announcement from the government that lays out the program goals, application process, and funding availability. Funding opportunity announcements may also be known as program announcements, notices of funding opportunity, solicitations, or other names depending on the agency and type of program. Funding opportunity announcements can be found at Grants.gov in the Search Grants tab and on the funding agency’s website.
Visit the Grant Terminology page at Grants.gov for information on funding opportunity, funding opportunity number (FON), Funding Period, or other grant terminology.
The grant process follows a lifecycle that includes creating the funding opportunity, applying, making award decisions, and successfully implementing the award. Check out the Grant Lifecycle page to find out what the applicant and the grant-making agency do in the lifecycle.
The specific actions along the lifecycle are grouped into three main phases:
All applications that respond to the criteria in the announcement and accepted for peer review will be discussed and assigned an overall impact score. All applicants will receive a written critique. Following initial peer review, a joint NIOSH – US Coast Guard Secondary Review Committee (SRC) will provide a second level of review for programmatic relevance, priority, and balance.
Applicant organizations may submit more than one application, provided each application is scientifically distinct.
Applications submitted in response to funding opportunities will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:
- Scientific, technical, and educational merit of the proposed research as determined by initial peer review,
- Relevance of the proposed training or research submittals to NIOSH – US Coast Guard program priorities,
- Contribution toward development of guidelines or best practices for improved commercial fishing vessel safety,
- Contribution to advance occupational safety and health aspects of commercial fishing vessel operations,
- Commitment of the applicant institution to collaborative efforts,
- Adequacy of resource-sharing plan, and
- Availability of funds.
Access the NIOSH “Commercial Fishing Occupational Safety Research & Training Program” at:
Access the Coast Guards Fishing Vessel Safety Division home page at: https://www.dco.uscg.mil/Our-Organization/Assistant-Commandant-for-Prevention-Policy-CG-5P/Inspections-Compliance-CG-5PC-/Commercial-Vessel-Compliance/Fishing-Vessel-Safety-Division/CVC-3-Home-Page/