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Grants to USA Researchers for Studies
Related to Equity in Food Access

Food and Health Research Using the Consumer Food Data System

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)

Conf. Date:


LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

08/08/22 3:00 PM ET


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Grants to USA researchers affiliated with academic organizations, including nonprofit organizations, IHEs, and public entities, for research in the area of food, nutrition, and diet. Applicants must submit a preliminary application prior to submitting a full proposal. Funding is intended to support studies that use data from the USDA’s Consumer Food Data System (CFDS) to promote equal access to nutritious food.

RWJF has widened its focus on childhood obesity to consider issues such as nutritional adequacy; upstream factors affecting food supply; nutritional assistance; and indicators of food quality and availability. To contribute to research, evaluation, and learning, especially for its healthy children and families focus area, RWJF is partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Economic Research Service (ERS) on an opportunity to make their valuable data on food and nutrition available to researchers. By doing so, RWJF hopes to support research that will help to overcome structural barriers to equitable access to healthy food.

As the agency within the USDA that anticipates trends and emerging issues in agriculture, food, the environment, and rural America, ERS conducts high-quality, objective economic research to inform and enhance public and private decision-making. ERS has acquired several food-related data, both restricted- and private-use assets, which comprise the Consumer Food Data System (CFDS). These data assets will support research on relevant and timely evidence that informs the USDA, Congress, and the public about the food sector and about key national issues regarding food and health—such as food insecurity, obesity, diet quality, and nutrition assistance programs.

RWJF and ERS are announcing a call for proposals (CFP) for researchers who will use one or more restricted-use data assets from the CFDS. RWJF and ERS seek to develop a cohort of researchers from diverse academic disciplines and institutions who will produce policy-relevant research on food policy; food retail markets; consumer behaviors related to food purchases and diet; and USDA nutrition assistance programs. It is RWJF's hope that the resulting research evidence will inform RWJF’s goal of creating equitable access to nutritious food.

Proposals may focus on issues related to the intersection between food and health, for example, as they relate to consumers, retailers, nutrition assistance programs, and public policy. Proposals of particular interest involve changing markets, the food retail environment, social and racial equity, nutrition security, food security, diet quality, obesity, food access, and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 202545

Number of Grants:

Approximately 12 to 15 projects will receive awards.

Estimated Size of Grant:

The total award will be up to $100,000 per project. Multiple researchers are allowed on a project, dividing the award.

Term of Contract:

The duration of awards will be up to 27 months, from November 2022 to February 2025.
Awards for researchers who need to apply for and receive Special Sworn Status (SSS; see Appendix B in the Call for Proposals) will be shorter (approximately 24 months) to allow for this process; receipt of SSS is a requirement for these awards to be finalized.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible for an award, researchers must be affiliated with U.S. academic organizations that are either institutes of higher education, public entities, or nonprofits that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and are not private foundations or Type III supporting organizations.

Projects that already have funding are not eligible for funding under this CFP for the same work. Researchers with funded projects may apply under this CFP for support for related research or an expanded project scope, accompanied by a clear explanation of how the work supported by this CFP relates to work that is already funded.

Pre-Application Information:

Brief Proposal Deadline: May 16, 2022 (3 p.m. ET)
Full Proposal Deadline (by invitation only): August 8, 2022 (3 p.m. ET)

Key Dates
- April 4, 2022: Announcement of CFDS call for proposals.
- April 18, 2022: Optional office hours session for questions related to CFDS data assets (virtual); additional information and resources will be posted on the Mathematica website The office hours are optional for researchers; it is not a requirement for submitting proposals.
- May 16, 2022 (3 p.m. ET): Deadline for submission of brief proposals, including signed third-party agreements (as needed; see Appendix C in the Call for Proposals).
- June 27, 2022: Invitations sent to selected applicants to prepare a full proposal.
- August 8, 2022 (3 p.m. ET): Deadline for submission of full proposals.
- October 17, 2022: Notification of Awards:
Selected applicants who submitted full proposals to access data at the ADRF are notified about awards.
Researchers who submitted full proposals to access data at an FSRDC who do have SSS are notified about awards.
Researchers who submitted full proposals to access data at an FSRDC who do not yet have SSS are notified of a possible award. Such applicants should begin the process to apply for SSS (see Appendix B in the Call for Proposals). Subject to granting of SSS, these awards will be finalized at a later date.
- Approximately December 2022 - February 2023: Official award notifications from RWJF concluded with signed paperwork.
- December 2, 2022 (tentative): Initial conference (virtual).
- November 2023: Interim conference (virtual).
- February 2025: Final conference (tentatively in person).


Contact Information:

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

Apply online:

Please direct questions about the program, selection criteria, or application content to the CFDS Project Team at Mathematica ( Any inquiries about specific CFDS data assets should be sent directly to the ERS contacts listed for each asset in Appendix A of the Call for Proposals in Supporting Documents below.

Responsible staff members at RWJF are:
• Katherine Hempstead, senior policy advisor

Responsible staff members at ERS are:
• Mark Denbaly, assistant director for data

Responsible staff members at Mathematica are:
• Liz Gearan, Principal Researcher

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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