Research program

At WCB, we are committed to reducing the impact of workplace accidents and diseases on Albertans. We partner with workers, employers, researchers and educators to develop effective tools and programs so we can do our part to improve workplace health and safety while still providing effective disability management services.

Our research program encourages scientific exploration into topics applicable to workers' compensation. We provide funding to high-quality research projects which address some of the pressing issues we face, such as:

  • obtaining optimal clinical and return-to-work outcomes.
  • exploring safety incentives and their role in reducing claims.
  • improving the efficiency, effectiveness and fairness of claims management and the workers’ compensation system.

In addition to these priorities, we may at times request research proposals to address specific areas of interest. Grants are made available to researchers in many different disciplines, including:

  • economics
  • law
  • epidemiology
  • population health
  • rehabilitation
  • basic sciences
  • general social sciences

WCB-funded researchers tell their stories

  • Platelet-rich Plasma Injections
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
  • Upper Extremity Injury: Rotator Cuff Tears

2017 grants competition

For the 2017 research grants competition, the Research Committee is particularly interested in receiving proposals that focus on the following specific topics:

  • A prospective study on developing optimal treatment programs leading to sustained return to work of clients with Traumatic Psychological Injury (TPI) as a result of a work-related accident/illness.

    The following diagnoses in the DSM IV are associated with traumatic work-related events/TPI:
    • Acute stress disorder (ASD)
    • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
    • Anxiety disorder not otherwise specified (NOS)—“Partial PTSD”
    • Adjustment disorders
    • Specific phobias (e.g., fear of driving)
    • Mood and somatoform disorders
  • A retrospective review of existing TPI programs across Canada (and perhaps the US) relating to work-related accident/illness and what factors lead to their success.
  • Outcomes of shoulder and knee surgeries.
  • The efficacy of WCB-Alberta incentive programs on reducing injury rates.

Other topics falling within these general areas of research will also be considered:

  • Disability management and rehabilitation—Reducing the impact of workplace injury and disease.
  • Return to work—Reducing barriers to employability; integrating best practices to promote safe, effective, appropriate and sustainable return to work.
  • Medical/rehabilitative interventions—Evaluating the efficacy of medical or rehabilitative interventions with a focus on treating occupational disease or injury.
  • Occupational disease—Detection, medical investigation, rehabilitation.
  • Changing nature of work and the work environment—Examining current technological, economic, demographic or social factors affecting the nature of work; exploring implications for Alberta’s worker’s compensation system.
  • Improving the predictability of WCB financing—Including costs and funding, through a better understanding of their relationship with economic and demographic changes.
  • Policy, system-design and decision-making—In workers’ compensation, examining systemic fairness and efficacy in terms of benefit structure, financing of workers’ compensation and incentive plans, decision-making models and review/appeal structures.
  • Knowledge transfer—Evaluating effective ways of putting research findings into practice for communities of interest.

The project team members could include, but would not be limited to the fields of—Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology, Population Health, Rehabilitation, Basic Sciences, Law, Economics and other Social Sciences.

A WCB technical resource could be made available, upon request, to assist with WCB–Alberta data extraction and consultation on database issues.

To apply, please complete the 2017 letter of intent form using our guidelines (with FAQ). The deadline for submission of letters of intent for the 2017 funding competition is March 31, 2017.

Please note that while we support worksite safety and injury prevention, WCB-Alberta does not have direct responsibility for occupational health and safety in the province of Alberta. As such, studies that address primary prevention are beyond our mandate and these researchers are encouraged to seek alternate sources of funding.

Questions? Contact us.

If you think your research applies to our business, contact WCB's Research Program and let us know if you'd like to be notified by email of any upcoming funding opportunities.

Learn more