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SBIR E-Learning for HAZMAT and Emergency Response (R43/R44 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)


This SBIR Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) focuses on the development of e-Learning health and safety training products from a variety of delivery methods to assist both students and instructors in the training and education process. Note that all products must be directly related to the health and safety training of workers exposed to hazardous materials (HAZMAT). Workers that may be exposed to these hazards include, but are not limited to, workers cleaning up Superfund sites; waste treatment personnel; skilled support personnel associated with an emergency or disaster; emergency responders in infectious disease response and disasters; and environmental restoration, waste treatment, and emergency response workers at sites under the mission of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Environmental Management and other DOE sites. Products are encouraged that support proficiency and competency in distance learning, that complement face-to-face hands-on demonstration, and that support and allow training addressing literacy and cultural challenges. NIEHS encourages applicants to review the SBIR E-Learning for HAZMAT Program, to pursue partnerships and collaboration with NIEHS WTP awardees, and to design new technology-enhanced training methods or e-Learning products that can enhance the existing NIEHS-supported curricula and training programs while adhering to the Minimum Health and Safety Training Criteria: Guidance for HAZWOPER and HAZWOPER-Supporting Training. Applications to assist NIEHS with its internal management and operations are not permitted, will be considered non-responsive, and are not appropriate for this FOA. For this particular announcement, applicants must review the descriptions of current and prior NIEHS WTP SBIR awards and avoid duplicating the exact curricula, subject matter content, and technology of these awards. Products must support health and safety training objectives or frameworks and not just be a method for information dissemination. Applicants should be aware of possible Human Subjects implications that may be associated with specific activities proposed (e.g., surveys, questionnaires), and must address human subjects concerns and exemptions appropriately in the application. It is highly suggested that applicants use the Human Subjects Decision Tool and the Exemption Infographic to make these decisions. Applicants must also review the NIH definitions and help pages on Clinical Trials and determine if the project meets the NIH clinical trial definition as clinical trials are not allowed. Please also see the WTP Clinical Trial FAQ page for more important information. The WTP held an informational webinar/Q&A session on June 29, 2022. The content is still applicable, and applicants are encouraged to view the webinar, slides, and FAQ's before applying. The following three areas describe the type of products that will be supported under this SBIR FOA. A. Products to support e-Teaching in safety and health training: E-Teaching in safety and health training encompasses products that assist trainers/instructors in developing and delivering safety and health training in a number of environments ranging from classroom to remote learning situations. Potential products include, but are not limited to, products aimed at peer-trainers or worker-trainers; trainers needing assistance with language, literacy, or cultural differences in the classroom; trainers needing assistance in developing small group activities and other teaching methodologies; products supporting training in disaster scenarios; and technology applications for broadcasting safety and health classes and resources to remote learners. B. Products to support e-Learning in safety and health training: E-Learning in safety and health training involves technology deployment to provide individualized or small group-based training in learning centers, in a technology-enabled "smart classroom," or to a learner's desktop, cell phone, laptop, or tablet. This might also utilize social media applications. As a technology-enhanced training option, e-Learning is used to enable individualized learning, at the learners' convenience and own pace, prior to, as part of, after, or in place of classroom training. This includes topic-oriented training products that address clearly identified health and safety issues involving hazardous materials and emergency and disaster response. C. Technology-enhanced training products to support the safety and health training of workers exposed to known, emerging, and new hazards from disasters; disaster preparedness and response resiliency training; job training for underserved and vulnerable workers; and health and safety training for emerging industries and technologies. E-Learning products for the safety and health training of disaster preparedness and response workers exposed to hazards from disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, oil spills, infectious disease, wildfires, and terrorist attacks are needed. Additionally, this program will support e-Learning products for the training of individuals in the Environmental Career Worker Training Program (ECWTP), a unique and successful model for workforce development with the goal of preparing and training disadvantaged and un- or underemployed workers for careers in environmental remediation, green industry, and construction jobs. Efforts to help promote the Justice40 activities of the ECWTP around green energy and sustainable jobs is a particular focus, and we encourage products that promote or assist in helping to provide benefits and services (social services, pre-employment, life skills, job readiness, etc.) to the trainee, or their partners and the community. WTP will also consider technology-enhanced safety and health training products that provide training for the opioids and substance use national disaster; technology products to support training in disaster preparedness and response resiliency training; and e-Learning technologies to support safety and health training in emerging industries and technologies such as climate change/resilience, environmental justice, and alternative energy. There is likely a need for short, incident specific awareness training that can be delivered during the disaster recovery period, including training on issues such as confined spaces; blood borne pathogens; personal protective equipment; hazard assessment; fire watch; first aid/CPR; site safety; working around heavy equipment; physical threats such as heat stress, fatigue, and shift work; fall protection; and psychological stress. WTP will consider advanced training technology tools to provide training in these areas. WTP is a training program and is looking for ways to enhance safety and health training using advanced technologies. Research projects will not be supported.
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