USDA Participant Research Innovation Laboratory for Enhancing WIC Services

Funding Agency:
US Department of Agriculture

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), is responsible for providing Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education (including breastfeeding promotion and support) for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk. The legislative authority for this grant announcement is contained in the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 Section 17 (g) (5)1 as amended and Section 1472 of the National Agriculture Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977, 7 U.S.C. 3318, codified at 7 CFR 2.19(a)(3)(x) in January 2009. Under this program, subject to the availability of funds, the Secretary of Agriculture may award competitive grants and cooperative agreements for the support of research projects to further USDA food and nutrition assistance programs. 

This is an announcement of the availability of funds for one new cooperative agreement for FY 2018-2021 with a public or private academic research institution or other non-profit research organization. In this funding cycle, the USDA anticipates awarding up to $2,000,000 in grant funding to support the creation of a Participant Research Innovation Laboratory to support and evaluate WIC local agency-initiated projects that design and implement strategies, including innovative tools and technical resources, to promote customer service surrounding WIC nutrition services which will contribute to retention of eligible participants. Developed strategies should focus on WIC service delivery sites or retail environments. Further, proposals should incorporate strategies that acknowledge the social and cultural diversity of WIC participants and those eligible for the Program. 

This RFA intends to select one institution or organization (e.g. accredited university, non-profit research organization or center) to establish the USDA “Participant Research Innovation Laboratory (PRIL) for Enhancing Customer Service in WIC Services.” The role of the PRIL will be to support and evaluate local efforts to develop interactive tools, technical resources, or innovative solutions that improve customer service in WIC clinics and/or WIC retailers (referred to hereafter as WIC vendors) and ultimately encourage and improve retention of eligible children in WIC. Research projects will build on and improve our understanding of the diverse personal experiences, perceptions, and attitudes of those eligible for WIC services. Implemented strategies/solutions will be evaluated for their impact on participant satisfaction and retention, and other relevant measures, within the local agency setting. In addition, the Grantee will provide evaluation-related technical assistance to State and local WIC agencies carrying out similar interventions through WIC Special Project Grants or other awards. 

FNS will accept only one application from each Applicant.


  • Duke Internal Deadline: June 4, 2018
  • Letter of Intent Date: June 11, 2018
  • Application Submission Date: July 16, 2018

If the internal deadline has passed and you are interested in this opportunity, please email Anastasia Maddox at to find out if it is still open.

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Eligible entities include public and private colleges and universities and other non-profit research organizations. This Request for Application (RFA) is open to all Accredited Colleges/Universities, and Private or Public Non-profit Research Institutions or Organizations. 

Amount Description

The grant will be awarded on a competitive basis, subject to the availability of federal funds. Approximately $2 million is available for funding this opportunity. We will accept one application package per applicant. The Grantee will be responsible for utilizing their awarded amount (1) to carry out a competition to award sub-grants to WIC local agencies or clinics to design and implement, in collaboration with the Grantee, interactive tools, technical resources, or practical solutions that help support participation and retention among those participating in WIC, (2) to evaluate the interventions, and (3) provide evaluation-related technical assistance to recipients of WIC Special Project, or similar, Grants as needed to support their evaluation of funded interventions. This grant award is contingent upon the availability of Federal funding. 

Funding Type





Community Outreach and Engagement
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

June 4, 2018

External Deadline

July 16, 2018