Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tufts/UConn RIDGE Center releases Request for Proposals (RFP) for economic research on U.S. nutrition assistance programs

Please share this week's announcement with potential researchers:
The Tufts/UConn RIDGE Center seeks to support innovative economic research on domestic nutrition assistance programs and to broaden a network of researchers applying their expertise to USDA topics. The RIDGE Center seeks applications from a diverse community of experienced nutrition assistance researchers, graduate students, early career scholars, and established researchers who bring expertise in another research area.

Full details are available in the 2017 Request for Proposals (RFP). Additional information will be provided during the RIDGE Center Information Webinar for Applicants, Thursday, February 2, 2017 at 2PM EST. Please provide your email to receive information on joining the webinar.

Important Dates for the 2017 Submission Cycle:
  • Request for proposals release: January 23, 2017
  • Informational webinar for applicants: February 2, 2017
  • Concept paper due: March 13, 2017
  • Full proposal (by invitation) due: May 15, 2017
  • Funding period (up to 18 months): July 11, 2017 – January 10, 2019
For additional questions, contact ridge@tufts.edu.
Here is our October announcement about the start of this Center:
Medford, Mass./Hartford, Conn.- A new center at Tufts University and the University of Connecticut will focus on economic research aimed at enhancing food security and dietary quality for low-income Americans through the nation’s nutrition assistance programs.

The research center brings together the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts and the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, two institutions with long records of research leadership in this area.

The Tufts/University of Connecticut RIDGE (Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics) Center will be funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (for one grant cycle immediately and potentially up to 3 grant cycles in total).

Parke Wilde, associate professor at the Friedman School, will serve as the RIDGE Center Director, and Tatiana Andreyeva, associate professor in the UConn Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, and Director of Economic Initiatives for the UConn Rudd Center, will be the RIDGE Center Associate Director.

“Nutrition assistance programs have a central role in making sure all Americans have access to sufficient – and sufficiently healthy – food for their families,” Wilde said. “This Tufts/UConn RIDGE Center will help build the diverse network of researchers needed to study what these programs do and how they can do it more efficiently.”

“The new center will offer competitive small-scale grants to support innovative research on nutrition assistance programs. The center’s mission is to further strengthen and expand the research community through vigorous outreach, mentoring and networking with established scholars and promising new talent in the field,” Andreyeva said. “We will aim to fund a diverse group of experienced and emerging researchers, representing a range of backgrounds, disciplines and regions of the country.”

The new RIDGE Center funding offers an exciting opportunity for a diversity of new and experienced researchers in the area of nutrition assistance, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and child nutrition programs. The Center will help connect researchers from around the country to current information about USDA program and policy interests, offering promise for sound research with real-world usefulness.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here's a novel proposal for your new directorship, Parke: why not focus those USDA granted tax dollars to bring in credible experts in joblessness and underemployment to address those underlying causes of food insecurity, instead of dreaming up ever larger and more costly nutrition assistance programs to perpetuate and reward a failed economy and its unwitting victims?

The critical flaw in your approach of throwing ever more money at the perceived "problem" of food insecurity is that by merely treating a symptom the prime issue, ill defined as it is, promises to become permanent and boundless, generating a reliably robust symptomatology to be addressed into perpetuity. Cynics might suspect that is the very intent of bureaucrats who administer these social welfare giveaway boondoggles.

Instead, imagine a research thrust with deliverables around resolving the fundamental economic drivers of food insecurity. Then you would have definable and measurable parameters and your program's success would ultimately reduce expenditures of tax dollars. People would become gainfully employed and amply fed, taxpayers would get some relief, experts could move on and turn their genius toward solving other pressing problems. It would be a win-win-win, would it not?

I think Sonny Perdue's USDA administrators should be petitioned to set aside a few moments to review your program, its funding and it's deliverables. If you are merely fabricating defenses for new tax & spend programming...and it certainly looks as if you are...then perhaps that USDA grant money should be redirected to put food insecure folks back to work at good paying jobs instead.

Just thinking out loud here on behalf of the silent majority.