This SBIR 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 (HAZMAT) materials such as chemical, biological, or radiological substances, and other hazards associated with a workzone. Occupations that encompass workers 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/disaster; emergency responders in biosafety response and disasters; and environmental restoration, waste treatment, and emergency response activities at sites in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear weapons complex.
NIEHS encourages applicants to this SBIR FOA to review the relevant program documentation, to pursue partnerships and collaboration with awardees of the WTP program (https://www.niehs.nih.gov/careers/hazmat/about_wetp/att/index.cfm), and to design new Advanced Technology Training (ATT) (https://www.niehs.nih.gov/careers/hazmat/about_wetp/att/index.cfm) or e-Learning products that can enhance the existing NIEHS supported curricula and training programs while adhering to the Minimum Training Criteria for WTP. 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. To avoid being non-responsive to this SBIR FOA, applicants must review the descriptions of current and prior NIEHS SBIR awards found at https://www.niehs.nih.gov/careers/hazmat/about_wetp/att/sbir/index.cfm and https://www.niehs.nih.gov/careers/hazmat/about_wetp/att/sbir_current/index.cfm, and avoid duplicating the curricula and subject matter content of these awards. An exemption is allowed for those applications that, while similar in content to existing curricula, propose highly innovative training and education approaches. Note: Applicants should be aware of possible Human Subjects issues that may be associated with specific activities proposed (e.g., surveys, questionnaires) and must address Human Subjects Concerns and exemptions appropriately in the application. Information on Human Subjects and allowable exemptions can be found at https://humansubjects.nih.gov/walkthrough-investigator#pre-submission.
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; and technology applications for broadcasting safety and health classes and resources to remote learners. In addition to the above and specific to DOE safety concerns, potential products aimed at workers at the DOE nuclear weapons complex might also include products to assist training workers on rights and responsibilities and other DOE policies; on addressing Native American cultural and language concerns; and on the development of safety cultures within the complex.
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 an ATT 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. Potential products include, but are not limited to, the creation of topic oriented products that address clearly identified health and safety issues involving hazardous materials and emergency and disaster response.
C. Products to support the health and safety training of disaster emergency response training and resiliency training:
Major disasters pose numerous, important environmental research questions and issues that can only be addressed during the period of disaster response and recovery. (https://tools.niehs.nih.gov//wetp/index.cfm?id=556). In the aftermath of numerous disasters, a number of topical areas and questions have been identified including those that, if addressed, would impact recovery, as well as future preparedness efforts. These topics included resilience; biosafety response and cleanup; the public health and healthcare system response; mold mitigation and health issues; characterization of the morbidity, disability, and mortality among impacted populations (including behavioral health outcomes, and outcomes for responders); disaster research responder education and training; communications; and the use of social media. 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, shift work, fall protection, and psychological stress https://tools.niehs.nih.gov//wetp/index.cfm?id=2528). ATT tools to provide training in this area will also be considered. Please note that the WTP is a training program, and we are looking for ways to enhance this training using advanced technologies. Though the WTP does support efforts to provide training to research responders (researchers responding to disasters to collect samples), it does not support research itself.
See Section VIII. Other Information for award authorities and regulations.