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RFA 19-1 Applying Novel Approaches to Improve Long-Term Exposure Assessment of Outdoor Air Pollution for Health Studies

Grants to USA, Canada, and Western Europe Investigators for Innovative
Research on Assessing Long-Term Outdoor Air Pollution Exposure

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Health Effects Institute (HEI)

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:



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Grants to USA, Canada, and Western Europe investigators for research on improving the assessment of long-term exposure to outdoor air pollutants. A preliminary application must be submitted before applying. Areas of interest include modeling approaches to exposure assessment and harnessing novel measurement technologies.

The Health Effects Institute (HEI) is seeking to fund research to develop and apply novel approaches to improve long-term (months to years) exposure assessment of outdoor air pollutants whose levels vary greatly in space and time, such as ultrafine particles, certain major components of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), oxides of nitrogen, and ozone. Request for Applications (RFA) 19-1 solicits applications for studies designed to quantitatively evaluate exposure measurement error and to determine the potential impact of using novel approaches to assess exposures to air pollution on health estimates.

The approaches of interest include, but are not limited to:

(1) Harnessing novel measurement technologies: air pollution sensors, mobile monitoring, location tracking, and other technologies that are increasingly being used to measure air pollution and human activity at fine spatial and temporal scales;
(2) Exposure assessment modeling approaches: hybrid models, machine learning, and other statistical techniques.

RFA 19-1 addresses one of the major challenges in conducting epidemiological studies of long-term exposure to air pollution, which is the difficulty of accurately assigning exposures to each study participant and quantifying the influence of exposure measurement error on estimated health risks. Assessing the health effects of outdoor air pollutants that highly vary in space and time is made more complex by the lack of long-term datasets that are highly resolved both in space and time. This RFA will support studies that collect and evaluate new sources of air pollution exposure information for direct application to health studies. The focus of the RFA is on long-term exposures because these exposures constitute the largest knowledge gap and long-term exposure and health studies are considered more important for risk and burden assessments.

For more information on technologies and methods of interest in this RFA, see the guidelines:

HEI seeks to fund studies that:

1. Conduct a new monitoring campaign designed to determine long-term exposure to outdoor air pollutants with high spatial and temporal variability, using sensors, mobile monitoring, location tracking and/or other approaches.
2. Develop several exposure assessment approaches suitable to estimate long-term exposure to air pollution at relevant spatial and temporal scales for use in an ongoing or future health study.
3. Quantify exposure measurement error by evaluating and comparing the performance of models of long-term air pollution exposure developed under this RFA to the performance of previous models.
4. Apply the various exposure estimates in an ongoing health study to evaluate the potential impact of exposure measurement error in health estimates or explain how the exposure assessments would be directly applicable to future health studies.

For more information on overall and specific objectives, see the guidelines:

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 185855

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

HEI expects to fund up to five studies from this RFA.

Estimated Size of Grant:

The funding cap for each study will be $800,000.

Term of Contract:

Studies of 2 or 3 years in duration will be funded. The budget should be prepared assuming a project start date of February 1, 2020.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Studies in North America and Western Europe, and other areas where air pollution sources, mixtures, and ambient levels are comparable to those in North America and Western Europe, will be considered responsive.

Pre-Application Information:

The submission and review of applications for RFA 19-1 will entail a two-stage process.

- Investigators should submit a Preliminary Application by June 3, 2019. The HEI Research Committee will discuss the preliminary applications and invite a limited number of investigators to submit a full application. Feedback will be provided in early July.
- Invited investigators should submit a Full Application by September 16, 2019. Full applications will be reviewed by a Special Review Panel before consideration by the Research Committee.

HEI’s Research Agreement is a cost-reimbursement contract rather than a grant.

Application instructions:

Investigator commitments:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Please send the preliminary application by email to:

Ms. Lissa McBurney
Science Administration Assistant

Please notify the science administrative assistant in a separate email that your application was submitted:

Questions regarding applications should be directed to:

Allison Patton

Health Effects Institute
75 Federal Street, Suite 1400
Boston, MA 02110, USA
Tel: +1-617-488-2345
Fax: +1-617-488-2335

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

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International country outside of the USA, Israel and Canada.