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Following the debut of the Research to Solutions (R2S) grant and MSD Solutions Pilot Grant in 2023, the National Safety Council is awarding up to an additional $260,000 this year through these pioneering grant programs to help uncover promising new safety solutions to prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs. As a key initiative of the Council’s MSD Solutions Lab, a groundbreaking strategic program established in 2021 with funding from Amazon, a total of up to $535,000 has now been committed in grants to foster innovative, transferable methods to mitigate MSDs – the most common workplace injury – across a range of sectors and workplaces.  

“Bringing together the brightest minds and pushing the boundaries of MSD prevention research and technology is at the heart of all we do,” said Paul Vincent, NSC executive vice president of workplace practice. “We’re proud to bring back these grants for another year so we can expand our network of top innovators to solve this pervasive safety challenge and ultimately help workers lead safer, healthier lives on and off the job.”

“We are pleased to continue our partnership with NSC on the MSD Solutions Lab,” said Sarah Rhoads, vice president of global workplace health and safety at Amazon. “The Research to Solutions and MSD Pilot Grant programs will advance research and create scalable MSD mitigation programs that help improve safety for employees on a global scale.”

MSDs include tendinitis, back strains and sprains, and carpal tunnel syndrome, and are often caused by exposures to repetitive, forceful exertions like heavy lifting. They affect people in every industry and sector, and cost U.S. businesses in the private sector nearly $17 billion a year, according to the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index. Recognizing the scope of these injuries, each grant is designed to further MSD prevention:

Research to Solutions, which will award up to $50,000 per approved research project, for a total of $200,000 in grants, invites academic institutions, businesses and industries to innovate new solutions for MSDs, focusing on occupational injury risk reduction that can be seamlessly integrated across a range of sectors and workplaces. R2S proposals should support one or more key research areas, including emerging technologies, solutions to jobs or tasks known to have high MSD risk, MSD management systems and total worker wellbeing.

MSD Pilot Grant, which will award up to $20,000 per approved project, for a total of $60,000 in grants, aims to reduce MSDs caused by upper-extremity work by matching organizations with innovative technology providers to trial emerging technologies in real-life applications. This grant is available to members of the MSD Pledge community willing to partner with the six leading technology providers featured at the 2023 NSC Safety Congress & Expo.

NSC will announce the list of this year’s grant recipients in May 2024, and the winners will have an opportunity to present their safety findings at the 2025 NSC Safety Congress & Expo or another event. For the current 2023-2024 grant cycle, the inaugural recipients will share their key learnings and research at this year’s NSC Safety Congress & Expo in Orlando, Florida, Sept. 16-18. Winners also shared progress reports with the MSD Solutions Lab before the end of 2023.

The R2S and MSDs Pilot Grant are two of several initiatives supported by the MSD Solutions Lab to achieve its goal of preventing MSDs.