Grants for Addressing Nutritional Disparities, Improving Nutrition, and Increasing Food Security in United States

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Deadline: 31 July 2019

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has launched its call for proposals to support actionable research that advances health equity in the areas of nutritional disparities, nutrition, and food security.

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Healthy Eating Research (HER) Program solicits scientifically rigorous, solution-oriented proposals from investigators representing diverse disciplines and backgrounds, with the goal of accelerating evidence-based strategic, actionable, and equitable solutions for improving children’s health, weight, and nutrition.

Three types of grants will be awarded through the Healthy Eating Research program with the aim of providing advocates, decision-makers, and policymakers with the evidence needed to address the key social determinants of health and inequalities that underlie poor dietary patterns and related health consequences.


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The program’s goals have been updated to better reflect its role in and contributions to building a national Culture of Health. HER goals are to:

  • Establish a research base for policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) strategies that advance health equity in the areas of diet quality and nutrition.
  • Build a vibrant, multidisciplinary field of research and a diverse network of researchers.
  • Ensure that findings are communicated effectively to inform the development of solutions with the goal of promoting health equity

Funding Opportunity: Round 12 Grants

There are three different grant types included in this CFP:

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  • Small-Scale Grants: Each grant will award up to $200,000 for up to 18 months. Approximately seven small-scale grants will be awarded under this CFP.
  • Large-Scale Grants: Each grant will award up to $320,000 for up to 24 months. Approximately two large-scale grants will be awarded under this CFP.
  • Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) Grants: Each grant will award up to $320,000 for up to 24 months. Approximately two CBPR grants will be awarded under this CFP.

What They Hope to Learn and Share

They aim to fund research that advances nutrition-related equity and sheds light on the drivers of inequities related to nutritional disparities, dietary quality and patterns, and food security. Also of interest is research that examines strategies and policies that improve nutrition-related inequities and the disproportionate impact on the health and wellbeing of low-income children and families, children of color, and low-income communities.

HER is particularly interested in food and nutrition policy, system, and environmental (PSE) strategies that can positively impact families, early care environments, and communities at a population-level. Research studies must target food and nutrition PSE approaches with strong potential to improve child development. Proposals will need to make clear connections between the study’s PSE strategies of interest and specific indicators of child health and well-being outcomes.

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Grants will be awarded with the goal of providing advocates, decision-makers, and policymakers with the evidence needed to impact the key social determinants of health and inequalities that underlie poor dietary patterns and related health consequences. HER is focused on accelerating evidence-based, strategic, actionable, and equitable solutions for improving children’s nutrition, diet quality, food access and security, weight, and overall health and well-being outcomes. While important, it is beyond the scope of this CFP to address excessive or deficient intakes of specific micronutrients (i.e., sodium); rather, they are most interested in approaches that impact diet and overall health more holistically.

Topics of interest for this CFP include, but are not limited to, research exploring:

  • PSE changes aimed at improving nutrition, nutritional disparities, diet quality and patterns, access to healthy foods, and food security for pregnant women, infants, and children (ages 0 to 8) and their families/caregivers, especially among populations at highest risk for poor dietary patterns and quality.
  • PSE changes aimed at (1) increasing access, affordability, and demand for healthy foods and beverages (e.g., pricing incentives; potable water access; food procurement in early care and pre-K education settings); and (2) decreasing access to and/or demand for less healthy foods and beverages (e.g., product placement; pricing disincentives; nutrition labeling; default options for children’s restaurant meals).
  • Examining if and how non-diet or nutrition policies (e.g., improved income; income tax credits; increasing minimum wage; paid family leave; or reducing daily stressors) may indirectly and positively impact family and children’s nutritional health and weight.
  • Examining the unintended consequences of current food and nutrition policies and programs, especially for lowincome children and families, families of color, and other populations at high risk for nutritional inequities.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Nutrition Assistance Programs [e.g., Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); and Child Nutrition Programs relevant for early care settings (e.g., Child and Adult Care Food Program)]. Examples include improvements to the programs; linking enrollments among programs; innovations in technologies to make nutrition supports more practical, accessible and effective; increasing participation levels; identifying the best strategies for improving nutrition or program enrollment, participation, and retention for ethnic/racial subgroups; opportunities to elevate nutrition incentives in SNAP; identifying changes to SNAP or incentives to increase fruits and vegetables or reduce sugary drinks, etc.
  • Other policies, interventions, and practices in child-care settings, retail food outlets (both food stores and restaurants), and communities, such as charitable feeding systems; health care settings (e.g., screening for food insecurity, identifying high intake of sugary beverages, healthy food prescriptions); prenatal care; home visiting programs for new parents, etc.

Targeted Age Groups and Priority Populations

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  • Target age groups for studies funded as part of this CFP are pregnant women and infants and children (ages 0 to 8) and their families.
  • All studies must have the potential to impact groups at highest risk for poor health and well-being, and nutritionrelated health disparities. They are especially interested in studies focused on black, Latino, American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander populations with an emphasis on families with pregnant women and children (ages 0 to 8) living in lower-income rural and urban communities.

Eligibility Criteria

For All Grant Opportunities

  • The focus of this program is the United States; studies in other countries will be considered only to the extent that they may directly inform U.S. policy.
  • Eligible applicant organizations include academic institutions, public entities and private nonprofit organizations, state and local government agencies, and for-profit organizations. Preference will be given to applicants that are either public entities or nonprofit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and are not private foundations or Type III supporting organizations. Applicant organizations must be based in the United States or its territories.
  • The applicant team must demonstrate the ability to conduct the proposed research. Entities that do not have inhouse research capacity are strongly encouraged to partner with qualified researchers who have established track records in the topical area and research methods proposed.
  • They strongly encourage applications that include researchers who are from groups that are underrepresented in policy research and/or who are affiliated with institutions that serve underrepresented groups, such as historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), academic institutions serving primarily Latino students, tribal colleges, and other similar institutions. They also encourage applicants from diverse geographic areas and a range of disciplines that are relevant to policy research, including public administration, sociology, psychology, economics, community development, public health, education, social work, nutrition, and others.
  • They encourage applications that incorporate approaches that are aligned with the principles of equitable evaluation, as described above. These approaches may include participatory research, community-based research, and other methods that enable individuals from groups who are the focus of research to be involved in defining and answering research questions.

How to Apply

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Interested applicants can apply online via given website.

For more information, please visit

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