Federal agencies Robot Workers

NIOSH to fund robotics studies aimed at reducing workplace hazards

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Washington — NIOSH, in partnership with the National Science Foundation, will provide funding for studies on the integration of robotic technologies in the workplace.

According to a NIOSH press release, NSF is calling for proposals for the National Robotics Initiative 3.0, subtitled Innovations in the Integration of Robotics.

“Through this initiative, NIOSH seeks to fund research on integration of robotics technologies for reducing workplace risk exposures, research to identify potential physical risks and sociotechnical challenges of robotics technologies to workers, and research to evaluate different risk control strategies,” the release states. “Research projects should address industry sectors likely to deploy and benefit from robots such as agriculture, construction, health care and mining, and consider modeling and simulation to evaluate potential hazards to humans in a virtual environment.”

Projects with budgets ranging from $85,000 to $250,000 a year for up to three years will be considered for funding. Applicants can submit their proposals through Fastlane, Grants.gov or Research.gov. Links also are available under the funding tab at NSF.gov. The deadline is 5 p.m. (applicant’s local time) May 3.


Through the National Robotics Initiative 2.0 that launched in 2019, NIOSH and NSF have awarded $1.5 million over three years to the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. That funding is for separate projects intended to reduce occupational hazards in health care and manufacturing via the development and use of collaborative robots, or “cobots.”

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