Food and Health Research Using the Consumer Food Data System

Purpose: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) recognizes that the health of our nation depends upon the health and well-being of our children and families. RWJF believes that all families—no matter who they are, where they live, or how much money they make—should have the resources they need to foster healthy development from their children’s earliest years. 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, we hope 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. We 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 our hope that the resulting research evidence will inform RWJF’s goal of creating equitable access to nutritious food.

Receipt Date:
Monday, May 16, 2022
Total Awards: Up to $100,000 per project
Eligibility: Researchers applying for funding from this CFP are required to submit proposals making use of one (or more) of the restricted-use data assets listed in the USDA’s Consumer Food Data System (CFDS; see Appendix A in the Call for Proposals).

Proposals for research involving multiple CFDS data assets conjointly are allowed and encouraged. A researcher may also import non-CFDS data into ADRF to conduct the research supported by an award. However, researchers must obtain and provide evidence that owners of the data to be imported permit linking their data as proposed.

To be eligible for an award, research supported by this CFP must be for research or statistical purposes, in contrast to regulatory or law enforcement purposes. The research must use at least one of the restricted-use CFDS data assets from the list provided below (see Appendix A for further details).

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.

Additional criteria apply to FSRDC researchers and ADRF researchers, as described in Appendix B and Appendix C in the Call for Proposals, respectively.