Alpha Foundation for the Improvement of Mine Safety and Health Announces $750,000 in research grant awards

May 13, 2014

The Alpha Foundation for the Improvement of Mine Safety and Health has announced approximately $750,000 in short-term research grant awards targeting innovative solutions toward fulfilling its vision of enabling miners to be free of work-related injury and disease. This is the second set of grants awarded by the Foundation; approximately $10 million in research grants were awarded in September 2013 in four focus areas: safety, health, safety and health management and training.

In October 2013, the Foundation announced a call for proposals for short-term research projects that encourage new, exploratory and developmental studies, demonstrating innovative thinking and solutions to mining health and safety problems. The call resulted in 53 submissions. Five of the research projects (listed below) were approved for funding by the Foundation’s Board of Directors who each individually represent years of research expertise in mine safety and health. Throughout the process, submissions were thoroughly examined by independent review teams consisting of a diverse group of professionals from the health sciences and engineering communities. The review teams evaluated the submissions across multiple criteria to ensure applicability of the proposed solutions toward innovative approaches to solving specific problems that have eluded solution by conventional methods.

“The Foundation is eager to investigate the potential breakthroughs that these innovative projects offer and looks forward to the results of these studies” said Dr. Michael Karmis, President of the Foundation.

The Foundation was established as part of a non-prosecution agreement entered in December 2011 by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia, the United States Department of Justice, Alpha Natural Resources, Inc. and Alpha Appalachia Holdings, Inc. Pursuant to that agreement, Alpha agreed to establish an independent foundation with $48,000,000 to fund projects designed to improve mine safety and health.

Subsequent calls for concepts will be issued by the Foundation in the near future to provide funding for additional research projects related to safety and health within the mining community.

Grant Award Recipients
Boston University School of Public Health
The Impact of Contractor Utilization on Health and Safety

Colorado School of Mines
Combustion Modeling of Explosive Gas Zones in Longwall Gobs

University of Nevada
Early Warning Safety Hazard Predictor for Preventive Ventilation Management

Southern Illinois University Carbondale
The Precise Determination of Rockbolt Performance Underground

West Virginia University Research Corporation
Development of a Gas and Dust Explosion Model


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