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Inputs: National Research Agenda (NORA)

Sector-Based Approach

Since 1996, the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) has served as a framework to guide occupational safety and health research-not only for NIOSH but also for the entire occupational safety and health community. Before NORA no national research agenda existed in the field of occupational safety and health, and no research agenda in any field had captured such broad input and consensus. Approximately 500 participants outside NIOSH provided input into the development of the first agenda.

Building on the success of NORA, the second decade of NORA is using a sector-based approach. Eight sector-based groups were formed by aggregating the 20 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) sectors according to the similarity of their occupational safety and health issues.

NIOSH and its partners have formed eight Sector Research Councils, one for each sector-based group, which include participants from academia, industry, labor, and government. Each Sector Research Council will draft a sector-based research agenda consisting of research goals, objectives, and action plans. These agendas will provide guidance to the entire occupational safety and health community for advancing research and moving r2p in workplaces. The sector-based research goals, objectives, and action plans will be posted to the NIOSH website for review and comment.


In addition to the eight sectors, NIOSH has also formed 24 Cross-Sector Programs organized around adverse health outcomes, statutory programs, and global efforts. The purpose of the Cross-Sector Programs is to address issues (e.g., work organization and stress-related disorders, hearing loss, musculoskeletal disorders, and traumatic injury) that are not limited to one industry but instead affect workers in multiple sectors. All of the Cross-Sector Programs have formed Steering Committees that are responsible for collaborating with the Sector Research Councils to coordinate research in their respective areas. The Work Organization and Stress-Related Disorders Cross-Sector Program builds upon work completed under the first decade of NORA (see The Changing Nature of Work and the Safety and Health of Working People ) and will continue its efforts as one of the Cross-Sector Programs.

Town Hall Meetings Held to Obtain Public Input

NIOSH hosted public meetings to seek input from individuals and organizations on important research issues and agendas. Input from government, business, the worker community, academia, and others is essential for planning the future directions for the eight different industry sector groups. Each meeting was structured to provide an opportunity for regional and multi-sector input during the morning, followed where appropriate by an afternoon session to focus on individual sector issues. The meetings also produced information and concerns relevant for the Cross-Sector Programs. The public meetings were open to all workers, professional societies, organized labor, employers, researchers, health professionals, government officials, and elected officials. For more information about the public meetings, see /niosh/nora/townhall/ .