USDA Mobile Technology for Child Nutrition Innovation Laboratory

Funding Agency:
US Department of Agriculture

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) administers several Child Nutrition programs that provide healthy food to children including the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the School Breakfast Program (SBP), the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP). Administered by State agencies, each of these programs helps to fight hunger and obesity by reimbursing organizations such as schools, child care centers, and after-school programs for providing healthy meals to children.

This is an announcement of the availability of funds for one new cooperative agreement for FY 2017- 2020 with a public or private Academic or Research Institution. The USDA anticipates awarding up to $1.5 million in grant funding to support the creation of a Mobile Technology for Child Nutrition Research Innovation Laboratory. This “lab” will support the development, testing and implementation of innovative mobile technology-based solutions to improve services, effectiveness, participation, and customer satisfaction in the Child Nutrition (CN) programs through subgrants. Subgrantees may include partnerships between State and local programs, researchers, and small businesses that are well-positioned to develop and test the effectiveness of novel mobile applications for consideration and eventual use by FNS and State agencies. FNS has a particular interest in mobile technology solutions that integrate behavioral economic approaches in their design.2 Mobile applications developed under this grant should support the activities of those who administer Child Nutrition programs and/or improve service delivery for program participants. 

With this RFA, FNS intends to select one institution/organization (i.e. Accredited University or Research Institution) to establish the USDA “Mobile Technology for Child Nutrition Innovation Laboratory.” The role of the Lab will be to develop and administer multiple subgrants to support the design, development, and testing of mobile applications for use by CN program participants, including operators of the program at the State or local level, as well as parents and children. The Lab will evaluate the impacts of the applications on relevant program experiences and operations. The Grantee will also widely disseminate the resulting tools (mobile applications) and information on tested strategies and evaluation findings. 

Eligible applicants may only submit one proposal in response to this solicitation. 


  • Duke Internal Deadline: April 20, 2017
  • Optional Letter of Intent: May 3, 2017
  • Applications: Jun. 5, 2017


Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Eligible applicants for the USDA Center for Behavioral Economics and Healthy Food Choice Research are restricted to public or private institutions of higher education.



Amount Description

The grant will be awarded on a competitive basis, subject to the availability of Federal funds. Approximately $1.5 million is available for funding this new Cooperative Agreement. We will accept one application package per applicant. The grantee will be responsible for awarding at least 51% of their awarded amount as subgrants to design, develop, and test mobile technologies. The grantee will also evaluate the subgrantees’ project goals on the desired outcomes, as indicated below. 

Funding Type





Community Outreach and Engagement
Engineering and Physical Sciences
Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science
Social Sciences

Internal Nomination

Owing to the sponsor's restriction on the number of applications that may be submitted from Duke, anyone wishing to pursue nomination should submit the following materials as one PDF.

* A letter of support from dean or chair - 1 to 1.5 pages
* Project summary - 2 to 4 pages
* CV or Biosketch of project leader

Please submit internal materials through My Research Proposal.(Code ILN)

Instructions for setting up your account and uploading internal applications can be found here: Instructions_FINAL.pdf

Internal Deadline

April 20, 2017

External Deadline

June 5, 2017