Evidence for Action: Investigator-Initiated Research to Build a Culture of Health Grant

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

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Grant amount: US $46,000 - US $800,000

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Organizations

Funding uses: Research

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: United States

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About this funder:



Background and Purpose

Evidence for Action (E4A), a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), funds research that expands the evidence needed to build a Culture of Health. A Culture of Health is broadly defined as one in which good health and well-being flourish across geographic, demographic, and social sectors; public and private decisionmaking is guided by the goal of fostering equitable communities; and everyone has the opportunity to make choices that lead to healthy lifestyles. RWJF’s Culture of Health Action Framework, which was developed to catalyze a national movement toward improved health, well-being, and equity, guides E4A’s program strategy. Visit rwjf.org/cultureofhealth to learn more about the Action Framework and RWJF’s vision for building a Culture of Health.

E4A’s mission is to support rigorously designed quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods research that yields convincing findings about the population health, well-being, and equity impacts of specific policies, programs and practices. We primarily target research that directly tests the impacts of interventions on health outcomes. Evidence generated through E4A should be useful to practitioners and policymakers in making decisions, setting priorities, and allocating resources. Accordingly, projects we fund should yield findings that are generalizable to other sites and/or populations. We are especially interested in research examining the health impacts of program or policy interventions that address factors outside the domain of health care services or public health practice.

Program Fit

E4A is an investigator-initiated research funding program, and as such does not pose a specific set of research questions, topics, or categories for funding. This call for proposals (CFP) offers guidance and clarification about the types of projects that are likely to be a good fit with the program’s general goals and objectives.  Research examples highlighted in this CFP are intended to provide context and stimulate thinking, not serve as rigid guidelines or restrictions. Investigators are encouraged to submit innovative proposals using any appropriate combination of research designs and methods

Approaches and Outcomes

E4A focuses on funding research that establishes evidence of causal relationships between an intervention and population health and well-being outcomes. Interventions are defined broadly to include programs, policies, and practices; and we consider health and well-being to be represented by a wide range of physical, mental, and emotional measures. Except in specific instances described later in this CFP, studies funded by E4A must include measures of health outcomes or of behaviors or other factors that are well-established determinants of health. We are most interested in population health effects, while also differentiating outcomes among subgroups within the population, so that possible unintended consequences of interventions for disadvantaged groups are not masked by population mean effects.

E4A proposals should be designed to answer a clearly articulated, testable research question. A variety of research designs and methods may be suitable to address such questions, including experimental and quasi-experimental designs in which adequate control or comparison groups can be identified or established. Mixed methods may be appropriate to help explain mechanisms or provide context for findings. In limited cases, purely qualitative approaches may be considered for funding. E4A is particularly interested in building evidence on interventions that have immediate relevance in current social, policy, or cultural contexts, and as a rolling submission program can rapidly respond to time-sensitive funding requests. We encourage studies that take advantage of natural experiments, which involve changes in large-scale programs, policies, or practices and can sometimes provide unique opportunities to establish causation. We are also willing to consider research conducted outside the United States that demonstrates clear relevance or applicability to building a Culture of Health in the United States. 

As a research funding program, E4A does not fund the costs of program implementation or operations. Also, in line with E4A’s focus on evaluating interventions, we do not fund descriptive or exploratory science, literature reviews, needs assessments, or validation of screening tools.

Below we list general areas of interest that align with the Culture of Health Action Framework’s four Action Areas, which guide E4A’s funding strategy. See the full Call for Proposals for complete details

  • Making Health a Shared Value (Action Area 1)
  • Fostering Cross-Sector Collaboration (Action Area 2)
  • Creating Healthier, More Equitable Communities (Action Area 3)
  • Strengthening Integration of Health Services and Systems (Action Area 4). 

In addition to aligning with one or more of the Action Areas, we are generally interested in research that will help inform efforts to:

  • Improve health outcomes and reduce inequities. 
  • Establish generalizable best practices. 
  • Develop and validate key measures.

Read more in the Funding Opportunity Brochure.

Total Awards

There is not an explicit range for allowable budget requests. You should request the amount of funding you will need to complete your proposed research project – including both direct and indirect costs for the entire duration of your study. Typical grant durations may be up to 36 months, with some exceptions when durations of up to 48 months are justified. Visit the Grantee section of our website for a sense of the number and size of grants funded by E4A at http://www.evidenceforaction.org/grantees.

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


  • Applicant organizations must be based in the United States or its territories, however; submissions from teams that include both U.S. and international members are eligible, but the lead applicant must be based in the United States.
  • Preference will be given to applicants 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 and are not private foundations or Type III supporting organizations.
    • Other types of nonprofit and for-profit organizations are also eligible to apply. 
  • Grant funds may be used for project staff salaries, consultant fees, data collection and analysis, meetings, supplies, project-related travel, and other direct project expenses, including a limited amount of equipment essential to the project. 


  • We do not make grants to individuals, and very infrequently support foreign organizations or organizations that are not tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • In keeping with RWJF policy, grant 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