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Alpha Foundation announces new solicitation for exploratory projects on targeted topics in mining safety and health research
January 25, 2018

The Alpha Foundation announced its latest solicitation for research and development projects vital to meeting its mission of improving mining safety and health.

The emphasis for this new solicitation AFC719, “Targeted Topics in Mining Safety and Health Research,” is to begin to address mining safety and health gaps in the portfolio of previously-funded Alpha Foundation projects. The following 11 critical topics of priority interest have been identified for exploratory projects:

  •  Respirable Dust Material Composition
  •  Understanding the Role of Overburden Mechanics in Pillar Design and Global Ground Stability
  •  Pillar Stability of Old Workings in Underground Stone Mines
  •  Evaluation of Current Seal Design Criteria
  •  Innovative Methods of Methane Detection Near the Face and De-energizing the Longwall Equipment
  •  Development of Remote-Controlled Roof Bolting Capability
  •  Proof-of-Concept Development of Explosion Permissible Sensory or Robotic Equipment
  •  Using Refuge Alternatives as a Base of Operations
  •  Examination of the Relationships between Mine Environment Exposures and the Development or Exacerbation of Asthma and COPD
  •  Identification of Mining Jobs and Operations with High Rates of Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSD), including the Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Measures Intended to Reduce or Prevent These Disorders
  •  Characterization of Chemical Exposures and the Hazards They Pose to Miners in the Metal/Non-metal Sector

Note that while proposals are especially encouraged in these areas (a further description of which are in the solicitation document), the Foundation is always interested in receiving strong proposals that address other compelling mining safety and health needs that are not explicitly listed.

In addition, while the Foundation’s funded projects have been carried out by a broad group of researchers to date, the Foundation is interested in engaging new principal investigators and research teams to expand the effort in addressing these important mining safety and health problems, both from within and outside the traditional mining research community. Therefore, the Foundation is especially encouraging those who have not yet received an Alpha Foundation grant to submit a proposal for this solicitation. This encouragement is not meant to discourage, in any way, those who already have had an Alpha Foundation grant to again submit a proposal.

The Alpha Foundation is allocating $2.5 million for this solicitation. It is expected that as many as 10 qualified grants with a maximum funding level of $250,000 per grant will be funded for a period of up to 18 months. Significant additional funding will be made available to fund competitive follow-on proposals from projects demonstrating promise based on convincing evidence from the exploratory effort.
Proposals for projects that address the needs of this solicitation are due by 5 PM EST on Friday, March 9, 2018. All proposals must be submitted through the Alpha Foundation Grant Management System. Further details on the solicitation are posted on the Alpha Foundation website at or can be obtained by contacting via e-mail.

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