Sunshine Education & Research Center


NIOSH Pilot Research Projects

The NIOSH funded Sunshine Education and Research Center at the University of South Florida provides grant funding to support pilot research projects in Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health each year.

The Sunshine ERC Pilot Research Project  Grant program is designed to promote partnerships with other institutions and groups in Florida and the region and to encourage research in occupational safety and health areas that are important to the region. The Pilot Research Project Grant program is intended to act as seed money for preliminary studies in support of larger research grant applications. An estimated ten awards ranging from $2,500 to $15,000 are given out each year. Grants are intended for doctoral level graduate students, junior faculty, and senior faculty who are performing research in a new area. Each grant is a one-time award. Each grant is a one-time award and a final report must be submitted to the Sunshine ERC by July 30 of the awarded year. The report will describe the project results and a plan for submitting a grant application, papers and presentations, and other future research. In addition, the awardee or sponsoring faculty in the case of student awardees are expected to submit a manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal. The PI or sponsoring faculty of student awardees are expected to update the Sunshine ERC on publications, presentations and research applications for which the PPRT grant provided data.

For 2018-2019 priority research areas are: 

  • Responses to natural disasters and outbreaks, and surveys tracking health of responders
  • Workers exposed to pesticides
  • Workers exposed to vector borne diseases
  • Comprehensive analysis of aggregate data from southern states on opioid exposures by first responders
  • Qualitative research related to opioids including key informant interviews and focus groups of targeted first responders in the state-run surveys of opioid exposures
  • Opioid use among construction workers
  •  Heat stress model to predict heat stress before it might happen using a large sample size and broad sample population


Submission date: June 30, 2018
Review date: July 29, 2018
Notification date: August 24, 2018
Final Report date: July 30, 2019