Mobile Technology for Child Nutrition Innovation Laboratory

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.

The purposes of this Request for Applications (RFA) are to:
? Provide background information and context related to the goals of this funding opportunity,
? Describe the type of cooperative agreement available,
? Describe which entities are eligible to apply for grant funds,
? Solicit funding applications from eligible entities,
? Describe the requirements for submitting a successful application,
? Describe how applications will be reviewed and selected, and
? Describe the terms and conditions to which grantees must adhere, including how the funds can be used.

Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Program Accomplishments

Not Applicable.

Uses and Use Restrictions

This Request for Applications (RFA) is open to all Accredited Colleges/Universities, and Private or Public Research Institutions.

These are requirements for the selected recipient of the Cooperative Agreement, not any potential sub-grantees.

The competitive sub-grantees, collectively, shall receive no less than 51 percent of the total amount awarded to the Grantee.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

The grant is to be used to establish a cooperative agreement to identify, develop and undertake projects to meet Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) program needs and increase participation, and access to Child Nutrition programs.

Beneficiary Eligibility

All Accredited Colleges/Universities, and Private or Public Research Institutions are eligible to apply to this opportunity. This is a requirement for the selected recipient of the grants and cooperative agreements, not the sub-grantees. 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.


No Credentials or documentation are required. This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Preapplication coordination is not applicable.

Environmental impact information is not required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program.

Award Procedures

FNS will pre-screen all applications to ensure that they contain the required documents and information, including but not limited to: all supporting documentation, the narrative proposal, Letters of Commitment from established partners specified in the application, and Agreement to Cooperate with FNS. Complete applications will need to be submitted by eligible applicants, meet all other eligibility requirements stated in this RFA, submitted on or before the required deadlines, and be in the required format. If an application does not include all appropriate information, FNS will consider the application to be non-responsive and will eliminate it from further evaluation. Following the initial screening process, FNS will assemble an evaluation panel to review and determine the technical merits of each application. The evaluation criteria discussed below will be reviewed by a panel of evaluators and used to score proposals. The proposals will be ranked by score starting with the highest score. The panel will present their recommendation to the selecting official based on this ranking. Awards will be considered based on rank order; however, the selection official reserves the right to make an award out of rank order to meet agency priorities, program balance, geographical representation, or project diversity. FNS reserves the right to use this solicitation and competition to award additional grants in the next fiscal year should additional funds be made available through future appropriations. FNS also reserves the right to fund successful applications at an amount less than requested if it is judged that an application can be implemented at a lower funding level. At the completion of the review and awards process, FNS will provide funding for the approved applicant upon receipt of a properly executed agreement.


Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.


The legislative authority for this grant announcement is Section 6 [42 U.S.C. 1755] (a)(3) of the National School Lunch Act and the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 Section 17 (g) (5) 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.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Please see the RFA for approval time.


From 30 to 60 days.


Not Applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Statutory formulas are not applicable to this program. Matching requirements are not applicable to this program. MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

The total time period for which a grant or cooperative agreement is awarded may not exceed 36 months. Funding will be made to successful recipients as specified in the terms of the grant or cooperative agreement with Food and Nutrition Service or as applicable under federal regulation requirements. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: The total funds will be released incrementally over the award years. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: quarterly.

Post Assistance Requirements


Program reports are required according to the terms of the cooperative agreement with Food and Nutrition Service or as applicable under federal regulation requirements.

Quarterly and Interim Deliverables are to be filed by the recipient according to the terms of the cooperative agreement.

Annual Reports are required as specified in the RFA and a draft version of a journal article ready to be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal is required by project completion.

No cash reports are required.

Quarterly Progress Reports are required as specified in the RFA.

Financial progress reports are submitted as specified in the RFA.

No performance monitoring is required.


No audits are required for this program.


Records (financial/administrative/grant) are to be maintained according to the time requirements specified in the terms of cooperative agreement with Food and Nutrition Service or as applicable under federal regulation requirements.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Salaries) FY 16 Not Separately Identifiable; FY 17 Not Separately Identifiable; and FY 18 Not Separately Identifiable

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

No Data Available.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Not Applicable.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office


Headquarters Office

Ashley Chaifetz 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, Virginia 22302 Email: Phone: 7034577741

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

The following selection criteria and weights will be used to evaluate applications for this RFA. All applicants will be notified whether their proposal has been accepted for an award by FNS. The goals of the Grantees are to: create a Mobile Technology for Child Nutrition Research Innovation Laboratory, foster innovation via a competition that will support mobile technology-based solutions in the USDA Child Nutrition programs, and subsequently achieve the goals of the subgrantees. The goals of the subgrantees are to create mobile technology solutions that will satisfy at least one of the following: 1. Increase access to Child Nutrition programs 2. Increase participation in Child Nutrition programs 3. Increase efficiency in Child Nutrition programs 4. Improve participant satisfaction (at both the program operator and consumer levels) with Child Nutrition programs. FNS is particularly interested in funding innovative approaches to increase access, participation, and efficiency and improve satisfaction with Child Nutrition programs that are sustainable without the need for new, ongoing funding. Scoring for Grant Applications 1. Overall Approach (45 points) Evaluation of a grant application?s Overall Approach will be based on: ? The project goals and objectives, which must coincide with the Cooperative Agreement?s focus areas and goals and objectives as described in this RFA; ? How well the Applicant?s proposal demonstrates a high likelihood of success based on previous experience; ? The included timeline for successfully implementing, operating, and concluding the project is realistic and clear (the timeline includes a project activity chart showing key activities and their due dates); ? The proposal narrative, which must clearly describe the applicant's proposed project; and, ? The implementation and evaluation plans, which must demonstrate understanding of FNS requirements, along with the capacity and commitment to fulfill those requirements in a high-quality manner. 2. Staffing Plan (15 Points) Criteria by which a grant application?s staffing plan will be evaluated include: ? Identification and description of the roles and responsibilities of key personnel and other partners and staff involved in the proposed project; ? The documentation demonstrating that the key personnel have the necessary and relevant education, skills, and experience for their proposed roles on the project; ? Whether the Staffing Plan provides sufficient documentation that the time commitment of key personnel appears to be appropriate for their project roles; and, ? Demonstration that partners, if any, have appropriate experience and commitment to effectively fulfill their proposed roles within the time and financial constraints of the project (note: letters of commitment are required from established partners in the application and serve as evidence of these commitments). 3. Management Plan (25 Points) Criteria by which a grant application?s Management Plan will be evaluated include: ? Degree to which the Management Plan articulates how the applicant will provide the oversight necessary to ensure high-quality products, services, or outcomes and to keep the funded projects on time and within budget; ? Whether the Management Plan demonstrates effective internal controls of funds that are provided to partners and local agencies that ensure funds are used only for project purposes, with an accounting record and audit trail; ? Inclusion of a plan for managing personnel associated with the project and for addressing any contingencies such as loss of key personnel; and, ? Whether the Management Plan shows potential for strong interrelationships, teamwork, and cooperation between the Grantee and partners, including sub-grantees. 4. Budget (15 points) Criteria by which a grant application?s Budget will be evaluated include: ? A budget narrative describing how costs within the Budget categories were derived and links between expenditures and specific activities/tasks; ? Whether consideration within the Budget of all necessary implementation and operational costs (for example, applicants proposing to hold stakeholder discussions must specify how they will use grant funds for hosting, facilitation, and follow-up of stakeholder engagement strategies); and, ? Whether costs are reasonable (the total funding amount requested is appropriate for the scope of the project, including if applicable, the use of matching funds or cost sharing available). Total Possible Points = 100.

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