Participant Research Innovation Laboratory for Enhancing WIC Services

The objective of this opportunity is to announce the availability of funds to establish the Participant Research Innovation Laboratory for Enhancing WIC Services.

The role of the Innovation Laboratory will be to:

? Develop and administer a series of sub-grants pertinent to the purposes
of the grant
? Coordinate relevant grant-related activities among sub-grantees and researchers
? Conduct an evaluation of sub-grantees? activities; and,
? Widely disseminate information on innovations and technical solutions developed.

The goal of the Innovation Laboratory is to develop and test strategies to encourage retention of children in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

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.

Selected Recipients for this Program

RecipientAmount Start DateEnd Date
Trustees Of Tufts College $ 3,499,937   2019-09-202024-06-30
Farm Bureau Agricultural Preservation Corporation-$ 3,499,937   2019-09-012024-06-30
Johns Hopkins University, The $ 2,168,999   2018-09-172022-09-30
$ 0   
$ 0   
$ 0   
$ 0   
$ 0   
$ 0   
$ 0   

Program Accomplishments

Fiscal Year 2015: Not Applicable. Fiscal Year 2016: Not Applicable. Fiscal Year 2017: Posted the solicitation on September 2nd; awarding in late 2016.

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 the food, nutrition, and health needs of WIC eligible participants.

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 recipient of the cooperative are to award sub-grants aimed at identifying, developing, and evaluating interventions and innovative approaches to strengthen child retention in WIC.


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 Child Nutrition Act of 1966, Title 17, Part g, Section 5.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

See the RFA for range of approval time.


From 30 to 60 days.


Not Applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has no statutory formula. This program has no matching requirements. This program does not have MOE requirements.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

The total time period for which a grant or cooperative agreement is awarded may not exceed 60 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. 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.

Report SF-PPR is 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.

Performance monitoring is not applicable.


Not Applicable.


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 15 Not Separately Identifiable; FY 16 Not Separately Identifiable(Exp: Total award amount is $1,000,000); and FY 17 Not Separately Identifiable(Exp: Total award amount is $1,000,000)

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

No Data Available.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Not Applicable.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office


Headquarters Office

Anthony D. Panzera 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 1014, Alexandria, Virginia 22302 Email: Phone: 7033052309

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 recipient of this cooperative agreement will be required to demonstrate a thorough understanding of: barriers to retention and participation in WIC that have been previously identified in peer-reviewed literature or local, state, or Federal reports, personal factors, attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions WIC participants and eligible populations have regarding WIC, and the diverse communities WIC serves.. The recipient should have an understanding of the services provided at local WIC sites as well as the relationship among the Program and its approved vendors. Scoring for Grant Applications 1. Project Design and Implementation Plan (40 points) ? Degree to which the project goals and objectives are in line with the Cooperative Agreement?s focus areas and goals and objectives as described in this RFA. ? Degree to which applicant?s proposal demonstrates a high likelihood of success based on previous experience and a clearly articulated logic model. Degree to which a clear and realistic timeline for successfully implementing, operating, and concluding the project is included. The timeline includes a project activity chart showing key activities and their due dates. ? Degree to which the proposal narrative clearly describes the applicant's proposed project. ? Degree to which implementation and evaluation plans 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) ? Degree to which the Staffing Plan identifies and describes the roles and responsibilities of key personnel and other partners and staff involved in the proposed project. ? Degree to which the Staffing Plan documents show the key personnel have the necessary and relevant education, skills, and experience for their proposed roles on the project. ? Degree to which Staffing Plan provides sufficient information to document that the time commitment of key personnel appears to be appropriate for their roles in the project. ? Degree to which Staffing Plan demonstrates that partners, if any, have appropriate experience and commitment to effectively fulfill their proposed roles within the time and financial constraints of the project. Letters of commitment are required from established partners in the application and serve as evidence of these commitments. 3. Management Plan (20 Points) ? 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. ? Degree to which 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. ? Degree to which the Management Plan provides a plan for managing personnel associated with the project and for addressing any contingencies such as loss of key personnel. ? Degree to which the Management Plan shows potential for strong interrelationships, teamwork, and cooperation between the Grantee and partners, including sub-grantees. 4. Budget (15 points) ? Degree to which the application includes a budget narrative describing how costs within the budget categories were derived and links between expenditures and specific activities/tasks. ? Degree to which the Budget considers all necessary implementation and operation 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. ? Degree to which the 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. 5. Matching Resources /Discounts on Indirect Costs (10 points) ? Degree to which the applicant commits matching resources, including in-kind resources, to the project. ? Whether discounts are provided on indirect costs and whether they seem reasonable. Total Possible Points = 100.

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