2022 External Partners Directed Research Projects

Call for Proposals – Closed – Next Opportunity Fall 2023

The Personalized Nutrition Initiative with the support of our External Partners Program is seeking applications for multidisciplinary research proposals that have the potential to impact personalized nutrition supporting the health and wellbeing of healthy human populations across the lifespan. The goal of the External Partners Directed Research program is to fund research with the potential to provide new applied and translatable innovation in personalized nutrition in order to advance health or solutions to personalized nutrition-related barriers that meet shared and critical needs in companies of all sizes.

In this call for proposals, we are inviting proposals from interdisciplinary teams for projects that address one or more of the following priority areas in Personalized Nutrition:

  • Algorithms to analyze nutrition and health data
  • Biomarkers
  • Bioactives
  • Nutrition and health data
  • Social and behavioral factors
  • Technology and wearables
  • Regulatory issues

Projects that will yield initial results in a relatively short timeframe (12 months) will be prioritized, with opportunities to share findings and garner input from the External Partners. A maximum of $50,000.00 may be requested over 12 months, with the opportunity to submit a competitive continuation proposal during the next annual call for proposals. To be eligible, the Principal Investigator (PI) must be an Affiliate member of the Personalized Nutrition Initiative. External collaborators can be part of the proposal, but funding is required to stay on campus, no sub-awards.

 An expectation of the program is that funded Investigative Teams will have regular interactions with the External Partners. The PIs will be required to provide a 6-month written progress report. At 1-year, the PI will submit either a final written report or a written progress report, if they are submitting a competitive application for an additional year of funding. Reports will include milestones and deliverables, and either an in-person or  online presentation to the External Partners. An additional report will be due 2-years after termination of the grant, which will include information on dissemination (publications, presentations, social media impact), grant funding, and other innovation outcomes (e.g., patent disclosures).

Interested Investigative Teams should submit a preproposal via Qualtrics (see instructions below) and, if selected, will be expected to present a brief overview (~5-minutes) of the proposed project to the External Partners on Thursday, November 17, 2022.

The External Partners will invite some Investigative Teams to submit a full proposal via Qualtrics by Friday, December 2, 2022, including a research plan and a budget (see instructions below). The External Partners Review Panel will evaluate proposals and forward a recommendation to the Steering Committee and the Director of the Personalized Nutrition Initiative for final approval. Funding decisions will be announced approximately one (1) month after the submission deadline.

Preproposal Submission Details

  1. Preproposal Submission Page online via Qualtrics: Fill out the Preproposal Submission Page with the following information:
    1. Names and contact information of all project personnel. Clearly identify the PI or Co-PI(s) as appropriate
    2. Project title
    3. Project abstract (200-word max)
    4. Priority area
    5. Estimated Budget
  2. Scope of Work: Single-spaced, 11-point font, 1-inch margins, not to exceed 1 page including all the sections listed below:
    1. Motivation: problem or barrier
    2. Approach to address the problem or barrier (brief description of the research design)
    3. Expected deliverables
    4. Expertise of team members

Convert the Scope of Work document to a pdf file and upload using the Qualtrics link above for Preproposal Submission Page.


Full Proposal Submission Details

  1. Cover page (using the link to the Full Proposal Submission Page that will be sent to the PIs who get invited to submit a full proposal online via Qualtrics): The cover page should include the project title, project summary (200-word max), and the names and contact information of all project personnel. Clearly identify the PI or Co-PI(s) as appropriate.
  2. Proposal Components:
    1. Scope of Work: A single-spaced, 11-point font, 1-inch margins, not to exceed 3 pages,including figures, tables, and preliminary data, and include all the
      1. Motivation: problem or barrier
      2. Background and preliminary data (if appropriate)
      3. Approach to address the problem or barrier
      4. Role and expertise of each investigator in the proposed research and plan for communication and coordination among the investigative team members
      5. Expected deliverables that will be relevant to the personalized nutrition industry (data, new research methods, apps, patents, guidances for consumer behavior or nutrition solutions, or solutions to policy issues).
    2. References
    3. Budget* & Detailed Justification including a timeline (up to 2-pages).
    4. Biosketches (NIH, NSF, or USDA) for each investigator indicating publications and external grants received during the last five years only.

*Salary support for tenure-track faculty is not permissible. Up to 10% deviation within the original budget categories is acceptable. Include only direct costs and transmittal forms are not required.

All proposal materials must be combined into one(1) pdf file, uploaded, and submitted using the link sent to the PI invited to submit a Full proposal via Qualtrics.


Questions? Contact Anna Keck (akeck@illinois.edu) or Sharon Donovan (sdonovan@illinois.edu).

Find out more about how to become a Personalized Nutrition Initiative Affiliate