Nestlé Foundation Pilot Grant Program

Nestle Foundation

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Grant amount: Up to US $100,000

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Individuals

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Research, Capital Project

Location of project: Afghanistan; Armenia; Bangladesh; Benin; Bhutan Show all

Location of residency: Anywhere in the world

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About this funder:



The Nestlé Foundation supports research in human nutrition with public health relevance in low-income and lower middle-income countries according to the World Bank classification. The results of the research projects should ideally provide a basis for implementation and action which will lead to sustainable effects. They should also enable institution strengthening and capacity building in a sustainable manner in the host country and further cooperation and collaboration between Institutions in developed and developing countries .

The Pilot Grant (PG) Program of the Foundation provides support for pilot research that has a high potential to lead to a subsequent full research project grant.  Often to be able to identify areas of problems for potential intervention one has to collect baseline data. A pilot study (pre-study or baseline study) will create the needed data for a larger research project. The pilot-study usually represents the starting point for a later full research grant application (i.e. a small or large research grant) to the Foundation.

At present the Foundation's work is primarily concerned with human nutrition research issues dealing with:

  • Maternal and child nutrition, including breastfeeding and complementary feeding.
  • Macro- and micronutrient deficiencies and imbalances.
  • Interactions between infection and nutrition.
  • Nutrition education and health promotion. 

The precise priorities and goals of the Foundation are modified from time to time to meet emerging public health and nutritional needs in the developing world. Studies in other areas of human nutrition research might also be considered, as long as they are dealing with problems of malnutrition in eligible countries (see above). Other areas of research may be eventually considered for support if the applicant can offer specific and convincing evidence and justification for the choice of their research topic.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Project must involve research in human nutrition with public health relevance in low-income and lower middle-income countries according to the World Bank classification - listed above and additionally including Kosovo and West Bank & Gaza. 
  • Research proposals should be primarily the initiative of local researchers from the developing countries.
    •  The Foundation will be inclined to consider favorably those applications jointly made by scientists from developed countries with those from developing countries provided it is clear that the initiative will result in capacity building and human resource development in the latter and the bulk of the budget (>75%) is spent in the developing country. 
  • Eligible institutions are departments or institutes from universities, hospitals other institutions of higher education in low- or lower middle-income countries.
    • Joint applications from more than once institution (especially South-South) are welcomed.
    • Joint applications from more than one institution involving a North-South collaboration may also be considered however it is important that the following criteria are fulfilled:
      • The Principal Investigator is from the South and the proposal has relevance to nutritional problems of the South, and
      • The majority of the budget is earmarked for the South, and
      • Demonstration on the completion of the project of institution and capacity building in a sustainable manner in the South.
  • Every application needs to demonstrate a training and human resource and capacity building component for the developing world.
  • Ideally graduate students or young investigators should play a key role and if need be designated as the Principal Investigator (PI) i.e. be the primary grant applicant or Co-PI.
    • Established researchers can apply but need to clearly indicate the capacity building component and the designated 3 beneficiaries.
    • Established investigators alone are not usually eligible to apply for a grant, except when they address innovative and exceptionally well justified research questions in developing countries. Such applications need to clearly state the capacity and human resource building components in the host country as well as the long term sustainability of research in the host institution.


  • Priority is given to projects which lead to sustainable developments with strong elements of capacity building, and the implementation of the results of a research project should be immediate and sustainable.
  • Highly sophisticated nutrition research of mainly academic interest without public health relevance has lower priority for support as well as solely laboratory based studies or animal experimentation. 
  • Applications from individuals who are non-affiliated researchers and not attached to research or academic institutions can be considered only in very special cases. 
  • Among the Foundation's main aims are the transfer of scientific and technological knowledge to poor countries as well as personnel and institutional development in these countries. Accordingly the largest fraction of the grant should be used in the corresponding lower income country (ideally > 75% of the requested grant). 


  •  The Foundation does not normally fund:
    • experiments in vitro and on animals.
    • exclusive nutrition surveys.
    • research in higher income countries.
    • projects with low public health relevance
    • projects with doubtful sustainability
    • projects lacking transfer of scientific, technical and educational knowledge, i.e. lacking a capacity-building component
    • large budget projects i.e. – projects that exceed US$100,000 per year or US$ 300,000 over the total duration o fa 3year project
    • nutrition surveys or surveillance studies
    • research on food policy, food production and food technology except when linked to an intervention with high potential for sustainable improvement of the nutritional status
  • As a matter of our policy we do not lend or give money to private individuals or support and contribute to operating funds.
  • The Nestlé Foundation has a longstanding and firm policy of paying documented direct cost of the projects it supports, but it does not fund unspecified indirect/overhead costs.
  • Although obesity and related diseases are of emerging importance in several low-income countries, the Foundation does not generally support projects in this specific area unless the proposal demonstrates linkages with under nutrition, the protocol is innovative and exceptionally well justified.