For Applicants

General Call

Under our rolling General Call for Proposals we fund rigorously designed research projects likely to contribute to the evidence base needed to build a Culture of Health by yielding convincing findings regarding the population health, well-being, and equity impacts of specific policies, programs, and partnerships. The evidence generated through this Call should aid practitioners and policymakers in setting priorities and allocating resources. While this call primarily targets research that directly tests the impact of an intervention on health outcomes, a smaller portfolio of grants is dedicated to the development and validation of key measures to improve the assessment of population health, well-being, and equity. 

Matching Service Call

Under the Matching Services Call we will fund a team to facilitate partnerships between organizations implementing innovative interventions in communities and researchers to rigorously evaluate the health impacts of those interventions. The selected Matching Team will have an advanced understanding of rigorous research design, an appreciation of the practical and logistical nuances of project implementation in community settings, a track-record of collaborating with a variety of organizations working in and with communities, a strong understanding of population health and social determinants, and established connections to a robust, diverse network of skilled researchers.

Want to learn more?
Register for Making Health a Shared Value CFP Webinar

Informational Videos

E4A Matching Services Call for Proposals: Linking organizations working in communities with research partners to evaluate the health impacts of interventions
The Past, Present, and Future of Evidence for Action, An Informational Webinar
What is Evidence for Action?
E4A Grantees Evaluate Interventions on the Social Determinants of Health

Applicant FAQs

E4A Open Calls for Proposals

In order to help potential applicants understand the three current and soon to be released E4A Calls for Proposals we put together a comparison table that highlights the purpose behind, features, and deadlines of the three calls.

Download the comparison table.

Matching Services Call for Proposals

While multiple individuals from a single organization may apply to act as the Matching Team, our experience suggests that all of the Matching Team characteristics outlined in the Call for Proposals may not readily be present in a single organization. For this reason, we strongly encourage individuals from different organizations with complementary qualifications to partner together to act as the Matching Team.

Yes, you may still apply even if members of your team already have funding from RWJF. However, both RWJF and E4A value supporting new research grantees from organizations and institutions that are underrepresented in the foundation’s grant-making portfolio.

Yes, members of the Matching Team will be ineligible for E4A funding during the 24-month pilot phase. However, other individuals affiliated with organizations that house Matching Team members are not prohibited from applying for other E4A funding opportunities.

No, Matching Team members are not eligible to pair with referred applicants. We expect that the Matching Team will facilitate partnerships, not participate in conducting the research.

Applicant information is confidential and cannot be shared prior to selection of the Matching Team. Once the Matching Team is in place, Letter of Intent narratives and E4A application review comments for referred applicants will be shared with the Team to aid in their assessment of the applicant’s needs and identification of the best potential research partners. 

The Matching Team will be asked to estimate the number of referrals that can be managed annually. Based on our experience to date, we expect 1-3 applicants to be referred to the Matching Team each month. However, we anticipate demand for the service to increase over time. While these projections are important to establish initial expectations for the capacity of the Matching Team, we recognize the need for ongoing assessment and flexibility based on the experience of implementing this new approach.

Our goal is that most partnerships will result in the submission of a new application to E4A (or other RWJF funding source), but this is not the only acceptable outcome of a successful match. Other potential outcomes of a successful match may include: mutual acknowledgment that a project is not yet ready for a rigorous evaluation; development of plans for baseline data collection; design of a pilot or demonstration project; or development of a full research plan to be implemented.

The research network may be comprised of both formal groups and informal relationships, and can reflect team members’ individual connections or organizational affiliations. While your initial Matching Services application will be evaluated based in part on existing informal and formal research connections, we expect that, as the Matching Team, you will have a plan in place to screen, recruit, and incorporate additional researchers into your network as potential matches.

Seed funding must be fully disbursed to referred applicants and/or researchers to support the formation of partnerships between matched pairs, and may be allocated for purposes such as travel expenses, stipends, supplies, etc. In keeping with RWJF policy, funds may not be used to subsidize individuals for the costs of their health care, to support clinical trials of unapproved drugs or devices, to construct or renovate facilities, for lobbying, for political activities, or as a substitute for funds currently being used to support similar activities.

You are welcome to allocate more than $200k for seed funding. If you disperse less than $200k as seed funding, you are required to return the remaining seed funds to the Foundation.

General Call for Proposals Eligibility

Evidence for Action funding is dedicated for research projects. Specifically, we fund evaluations of the impact of programs or policies on health outcomes. Data, evidence or metrics developed under this program should be action oriented and scalable or broadly applicable to improving population health or health equity.

Preference will be given to applicant organizations that are either institutes of higher education, public entities or nonprofit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code but other types of nonprofit and for-profit organizations are eligible to apply. Applicant organizations must be based in the United States or its territories.

Yes, applicants that have other active RWJF grants may apply. 

The Principal Investigator does not need to hold an advanced degree nor do they need to be one of the researchers for the project, so long as the research team as a whole has the capacity to complete the proposed research project. Two Principal Investigators may be listed in the application for a proposed research project, but the structure of the team is not limited to these two individuals.

The Principal Investigator does not need to be based at the lead organization, but in such a case the relationship between the Principal Investigator and the organization should be described.

A variety of research designs can help improve the evidence base for a Culture of Health. Researchers might focus on: independent evaluations of program or policy implementation, randomized trials, quasi- or natural experiments, secondary analyses of existing data, qualitative or mixed methods, network or systems analyses, or other study designs and methods. In most cases an appropriate comparison group should be included in the study design. While randomization may be ideal, we recognize that randomized controlled trials are not always feasible. Other methods of comparison such as a wait list control or various matching techniques may also be acceptable. We also encourage applications that leverage existing programs or studies already funded through other sources.

  • Rigor – presence of a clear, data-driven research question; designed in such a manner that either positive or null findings will provide useful information; inclusion of an appropriate comparison group;
  • Actionability – results can be used in the near-term to inform priorities and decisions; generally, research that solely informs or results in needing additional research is not a good fit;
  • Relevance – clarity and importance of the research aims, hypothesis, and study population to the Culture of Health framework and goals; 
  • Contribution to the evidence base - potential to address key knowledge gaps and contribute to scientific advancement;
  • Inclusion of health outcome measure(s) – outcomes may include diverse dimensions of physical and mental health, or behaviors known to influence health; “health care access” alone is not considered a sufficient health outcome measure; 
  • Feasibility – qualifications of the team to carry out the proposed research and appropriateness of budget and project timeline.

As a research funding program, E4A does not fund programmatic implementation or operations. We have also identified some examples of research that are not a good fit with the program objectives: descriptive or exploratory science; literature reviews; needs assessments; development and validation of screening tools; basic biomedical inquiry; drug therapy or device research; animal or plant science.

There are no rigid restrictions against multiple awards to the same researcher. However, RWJF values supporting a diverse grantee pool with a wide range of innovative ideas. E4A will prioritize new research over subsequent funding to extend a study after an initial award has ended. In some cases, a compelling rationale might be made for the importance of additional information that could be gained by extending research on a previously funded project, which could warrant successive funding. 

General Call for Proposals Submission

Under normal circumstances it takes approximately 5 months from the time of LOI submission to the release of funds by RWJF. Built into this timeline are the LOI review process, the Full Proposal development and review process, and internal RWJF processes that need to take place prior to fund release. There may be circumstances that will result in a shorter or longer time period between LOI submission and the release of funds, such as a request for revision and resubmission at the LOI or FP stage or a time sensitive project, but in general we recommend that your anticipated project start date be at least 5 months after submission.

Successful LOIs adhere to the template in the application system,, to address three major questions:

  • What will be gained from this work? (~1/2 page)
  • What are the specific research question(s) or hypotheses that will be examined and how will this be accomplished? (~1 page)
  • What are the qualifications and capacity of the team to conduct the proposed research? (~1/2 page)

LOIs should focus primarily on outlining the research approach, describing the rigor of the design, and demonstrating the importance and actionability of the outcomes. Only applicants who present clear, compelling, and innovative connections between their proposed research and creating a national Culture of Health will be invited to submit a Full Proposal.

For examples of E4A funded research projects see our Grantees Page

Letters of Intent will be reviewed by members of the NPO and RWJF.  Full proposals will also be reviewed by the NPO and the Foundation, as well as one to two external reviewers.  External reviewers will be selected for each full proposal in order to align appropriate expertise with the content of the proposal.

Generally, all applicants will receive a decision within six to eight weeks regarding whether or not they are invited to move on to the next round of review and decision making. We cannot guarantee every LOI or Full Proposal will receive detailed feedback. RWJF policy prevents us from providing proactive feedback, however, applicants are welcome to contact the NPO with specific questions about their proposal.Applicants who are invited to revise their proposal or who are referred to one of our Technical Assistance services will receive more specific feedback.

No, approximately 10% of applicants are invited to submit a Full Proposal.  LOIs will be evaluated on fit with the topics described in this solicitation and the Culture of Health action framework; importance of the potential contribution to our understanding of a Culture of Health and how to achieve it; and feasibility.  Only LOIs that are well aligned with these criteria will be invited to submit Full Proposals.

Yes. Applicants may submit multiple LOIs, serve as a partner for another organization's LOI, and/or resubmit a refined or new LOI if an original submission is not accepted. While there are no rigid restrictions against multiple submissions from the same researcher, the diversity of the grantee pool will be a factor in funding decisions. Therefore, we encourage you to think critically about the relative strengths of the projects for which you are considering submitting LOIs.

Due to significant interest in the program we are only able to advance a small proportion of the LOIs we receive to the full proposal stage. Promising projects that meet all criteria except design rigor my be referred to Technical Assistance. If you have specific questions about why your LOI was turned down you may contact the NPO.

Watch our archived informational webinars and other programmatic webinars on our Videos & Archived Webinars page for more information on the E4A LOI submission process.

There is no deadline for submission. The program operates on a rolling acceptance basis, so LOIs may be submitted at any time.  

General Call for Proposals Funding

No, matching funds are not required, but supplemental funding is welcomed and encouraged.  The ability to leverage other funding for the proposed research project will not be a formal criterion for awarding grants, but it may be a consideration in the decision-making process.

Yes, applicants may submit a proposal that is being considered by other organizations. If your proposal is selected by both RWJF and other funding organizations you will be required to report this to RWJF and adjust or expand the activities and budget as appropriate so there is no duplication of funding. You are allowed to expand your project’s scope of work with funding from other sources, as long as you complete the project that RWJF funded you to conduct.

Funds may be used for personnel, consultant fees, data collection & analysis, meetings, supplies, project-related travel, other direct expenses, and up to 12% in overhead or indirect costs. In general, it is not appropriate to buy office equipment or office software with program funds. However, if office equipment or software essential for conducting research (i.e., collecting or analyzing data) is needed and justified in the budget narrative, and the cost does not exceed five percent of the total direct costs in the budget, it is acceptable to include such items.

Currently, between 30-40% of Full Proposals are recommended for funding.

You should request the amount of funding you will need to complete your proposed research project.  In the case of multi-year proposals, budget requests should reflect the entire grant period (up to 36 months), as opposed to an annual amount. When entering the budget request at the LOI stage, round up to the nearest hundred as opposed to estimating to the exact dollar amount.

Budget requests should be inclusive of both direct and indirect costs.  The Foundation’s approved rate for indirect costs is 12% of all project costs (Personnel, Other Direct Costs, and Purchased Services). However, if the Purchased Services category equals more than 33% of the total of Personnel, Other Direct Costs and Purchased Services, RWJF allows 12% indirect on Personnel and Other Direct Costs, and 4% on Purchased Services.  Keep in mind that personnel funding that leaves the Lead Applicant Organization is considered “Purchased Services”.  For further detail about permissible uses of grant funds please see the related FAQ.

There is no cap for an allowable research budget request. We have received a wide range of budget requests and have invited Full Proposals ranging from $35k to $1M and recommended projects for funding ranging from $46,000 to $729,500 over the maximum grant duration of 3 years.

In our decision making process, E4A weighs funding requested against the potential value of proposed research gains. You should request the amount of funding you will need to complete your proposed research project, and we will work with you to adjust the budget if necessary.

We recognize the funding amount and duration could impact the type of studies that may be undertaken. We encourage applicants to consider creative ways for achieving high-impact research within the duration and budget parameters of this program.  For example, by breaking research into phases, utilizing funding to supplement an existing project, leveraging funding from multiple sources, etc.  Please contact the program office to discuss ideas for research that may fall outside the funding parameters of this program.