Alpha Foundation Grants

Alpha Foundation for the Improvement of Mine Safety and Health

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Grant amount: Up to US $250,000

Deadline: Mar 8, 2019 2:00pm PST

Applicant type: Nonprofit College / University

Funding uses: Research

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: United States

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The Alpha Foundation is seeking to award research addressing the root causes of disease, injuries, and fatalities in the mining industry and achieve successful implementation of practical solutions derived from the research effort.

The Foundation is committed to fund projects that explore innovative ideas and concepts, complement existing research efforts and address knowledge or technology gaps in mine safety and health. To this end, cooperative research efforts with mining entities, stakeholder groups and state and federal institutions are encouraged.

The Foundation plan is a balanced approach, incorporating a blend of engineering and health science with behavioral science and training, needed to solve mining safety and health problems.

Solicitation Focus: Targeted Topics in Mining Safety and Health Research

The emphasis for this new solicitation is to address mining safety and health gaps in the portfolio of previously-funded Alpha Foundation projects. In order to provide guidance to proposers, a set of critical topics of priority interest are provided in the Appendix. While these topics are of particular interest for this solicitation, the Foundation is always interested in receiving strong proposals that address other compelling mining safety and health needs that are not explicitly listed.

Health & Safety Interventions

Dust and Toxic Substance Control: Prevention of health risks due to generation of dust or other toxic substances.

  • Topic: Respirable Dust Material Composition

Ground Control: Prevention of unstable ground conditions that result in collapses, ventilation disruption, and miner entrapment; roof and rib falls; and injuries due to insufficient support coverage.

  • Topic: Understanding the Role of Overburden Mechanics in Pillar Design and Global Ground Stability
  • Topic: Pillar Stability of Old Workings in Underground Stone Mines

Fire and Explosion Prevention: Prevention of conditions that cause or contribute to mine explosions and fires and effective intervention measures to extinguish their propagation.

  • Topic: Evaluation of Current Seal Design Criteria

Monitoring Systems and Integrated Control Technologies: Recognition and intervention of the escalation of conditions that lead to health and safety risks before they reach hazardous levels.

  • Topic: Innovative Methods of Methane Detection Near the Face and De-energizing the Longwall Equipment

Machine/Equipment Design and Ergonomics: Prevention of injuries related to mining machinery or equipment operation, movement, handling, or repair.

  • Topic: Development of Remote-Controlled Roof Bolting Capability
  • Topic: Proof-of-Concept Development of Explosion Permissible Sensory or Robotic Equipment

Mine Escape, Rescue & Training

Sheltering and Escape Strategies: Developing escape strategies and technologies to aid in escape including systems that provide for sheltering when escape is not immediately attainable.

  • Topic: Using Refuge Alternatives as a Base of Operations 

Injury & Disease Exposure & Risk Factors

  • Topic: Examination of the Relationships between Mine Environment Exposures and the Development or Exacerbation of Asthma and COPD.
  • Topic: Identification of Mining Jobs and Operations with High Rates of Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSD), including the Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Measures Intended to Reduce or Prevent These Disorders
  • Topic: Characterization of Chemical Exposures and the Hazards They Pose to Miners in the Metal/Non-metal Sector.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Research project proposals in response to this solicitation will be accepted only from U.S.‐based academic institutions and not‐for‐profit organizations qualifying as exempt from taxation under the Internal Revenue Code. 


  • It is Foundation policy that grant funds may not be used to support clinical trials of unapproved drugs, to construct or renovate facilities, for lobbying, for political activities, or as a substitute for funds currently being used to support similar activities.