Discoveries in Safety Grants

Funding opportunities for scientific research aimed at reducing thermal and chemical fire exposures to firefighters.
Fire Fighters take precaution
  • Overview
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Between battling blazes in extreme heat and exposure to toxic chemicals, firefighting is an exceedingly hazardous job. At the Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI), part of UL Research Institutes, we strive to address these risks and help first responders stay safer on the job through our ongoing research. To further this goal, FSRI is sponsoring new research aimed at reducing exposure to thermal and chemical combustion products.

By participating in the UL Research Institutes Discoveries in Safety Grants Program, FSRI will award up to two grants of $200,000 a year for a three-year period beginning in 2024. Qualified teams developing data, methods, or techniques that quantify human and environmental impact or minimize personal protective equipment (PPE) contamination are encouraged to apply for these research funding opportunities. FSRI is committed to sharing the fire safety insights this research will yield to advance our mission of addressing unresolved fire safety risks and emerging dangers. 

Research Funding Opportunities to Fill the Gaps

Fires create intense conditions and we lack key knowledge about tolerable exposure levels and safe operating durations for the first responders who are routinely exposed to thermal and chemical combustion products on the job. Given the variability of the fuels involved in structure and vehicle fires, the characterization of the chemical exposures is limited. The materials that burn during a house fire or a vehicle fire may be deposited in and around the fire area, contaminating the PPE of firefighters.

In terms of thermal exposures, there is a lack of evidence-based understanding of the connection between the thermal exposure of a fire environment to the PPE and the safe operational time of firefighters. Additionally, similar unknowns exist in terms of fire effluent exposures when wearing PPE. Research should help answer the following questions:

  • What can be done to better understand and then reduce thermal and chemical exposures on the fireground?
  • What is the composition of the contamination on PPE after thermal and chemical exposure from a fire?
  • What are the best methods for cleaning contaminated PPE?
  • Are there improvements in the design of PPE that can result in improved thermal and chemical protection?
  • Can improvements to cleaning PPE reduce the risk of secondary exposures and cross-contamination?

Grant applicants are encouraged to select from one of the two focus areas that respond to thermal and chemical fire exposures.

Focus Area 1: Human and Environmental Impact

The research goals of this focus area include employing innovations in measurement, numerical modeling, skin simulants, models of respiratory system impact, and/or other novel research approaches to close the knowledge gaps related to the human health and environmental impact of fire.

Focus Area 2: PPE

The research goals include characterizing the thermal and chemical exposures from structure, wildland urban interface, and/or vehicle fires and the resulting contamination of firefighter PPE. In addition, this research topic includes potential studies on how to best remove contaminants from PPE.

Discoveries in Safety Grant Program Requirements

All proposals should be submitted by an accredited college, university, government, or non-government organization (including not-for-profit institutions) with recognized legal status in their respective country.

Key Dates:

Applicant Question Period Ends: January 19, 2024
Applicant Informational Webinar: January 26, 2024
Letters of Intent Application Due: February 16, 2024 (due by 11:59 p.m. EST)
Full Proposal Application Period: April 1, 2024 - May 10, 2024 (due by 11:59 p.m. EST)
Research Project Begin By: September 1, 2024

Award Information:

Type of Award: Competitive grant
Number of Awards Given: Up to 2
Funding Amount: Up to $200,000 per year
Duration of Award: 3 years

To learn more about the grant opportunities and how to apply, visit


For questions about this program, please contact:

Published: January 4, 2024