For Applicants

What we're looking for

We fund rigorously designed quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods research that expands the evidence base needed to build a Culture of Health. Our mission is to support research that yields convincing findings regarding the population health, well-being and equity impacts of specific policies, programs and partnerships. Evidence generated through E4A should aid practitioners and policymakers in setting priorities and allocating resources. While we primarily target late-stage research that directly tests 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.

Who we're looking for

We are looking for applicants who represent a wide range of fields and disciplines — both within and outside the health sector. We seek to attract diversity of thought, professional background, race and ethnicity, and cultural perspective in our applicant pool. Building a Culture of Health means integrating health into all aspects of society, so we encourage multi-sector partnerships and collaboration. The Principal Investigator is not required to hold an advanced degree as long as the research team has the capacity to conduct the proposed research project. Preference is given to applicants that are public entities, institutes of higher education, or nonprofit organizations based in the U.S. or its territories.

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Archived Infromational Webinars

Lessons Learned from a Year of E4A
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7/22/15 Applicant Informational Webinar
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Applicant FAQs

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Evidence for Action funding is dedicated for research projects. Evaluations of the implementation of programs or policies are appropriate as long as the majority of funding is used for research related activities.  Data, evidence or metrics developed under this program should be action oriented and scalable or broadly applicable to improving population health or health equity.

The breadth of topics that could fall within the realm of this solicitation is quite broad. To learn more, connect with us on Twitter @COHIIR and LinkedIn. If you have specific questions about the eligibility of your project please contact the program office at  

Eligible organizations are universities, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and other entities that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and are not private foundations as defined under Section 509(a). Organizations must be based in the U.S. or its territories. While for-profit entities are not eligible to act as the lead organization, they can partner an eligible lead organization for the proposed research project.

We welcome applications from all investigators, and the following are especially encouraged to apply:

  • Interdisciplinary or cross-sector research teams;
  • Investigators from a variety of areas and disciplines, including but not limited to business, community development, criminal justice, education, health care, public health, public policy, social justice, and sociology;
  • Investigators who help expand the perspectives and experiences brought to this work and who enhance diversity and inclusion across race, ethnicity, gender, geography, disability, age, socioeconomic status, etc. 

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.


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

No, the themes are intended to provide context and stimulate thinking.  Investigators are encouraged to submit creative proposals that help address the most pressing research gaps to advance health equity and build a Culture of Health in the United States.  The themes describe the kind of research we think may be best suited for achieving these goals.  However, they are not meant to serve as rigid guidelines, and we are open to receiving ideas that do not align directly with the themes as described in the Call for Proposals (CFP).

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 detailed feedback, however, applicants are welcome to contact the NPO with specific questions about their proposal.

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.

Applicants should identify partner organizations during the LOI phase. However, names of all individuals who will comprise the research team are not required. Only the name of the principal investigator must be provided in the LOI. The names of other individuals who will collaborate on the project may be listed in the full proposal.

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 submissions. Therefore, we encourage you to think critically about the relative strengths of the projects for which you are considering submitting LOIs.

LOIs are turned down for a variety of reasons, including: the lack of a clear research question; research questions that will not yield actionable outcomes; research that is not measuring health outcomes; or study populations or topics that are unlikely to produce results that are broadly applicable to population health outcomes.

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. If you have specific questions about why your LOI was turned down you may contact the NPO. 


E4A has approximately $6.6M to award through July 2017. 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 $46k to $500k.

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.

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 30 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.

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.

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.