Participant Research Innovation Laboratory for Enhancing WIC Services


The objective of this opportunity was to announce the availability of funds to establish the Participant Research Innovation Laboratory for Enhancing WIC Services. The role of the PRIL is to support and evaluate local efforts to develop interactive tools, technical resources, or innovative solutions that improve customer service in WIC clinics and/or WIC retailers (referred to hereafter as WIC vendors) and ultimately encourage and improve retention of eligible children in WIC. Research projects build on and improve our understanding of the diverse personal experiences, perceptions, and attitudes of those eligible for WIC services. Implemented strategies/solutions will be evaluated for their impact on participant satisfaction and retention, and other relevant measures, within the local agency setting. In addition, the Grantee, Johns Hopkins University, will provide evaluation-related technical assistance to State and local WIC agencies carrying out similar interventions through WIC Special Project Grants or other awards.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Food and Nutrition Service, Department of Agriculture
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
B - Project Grants; Z - Salaries and Expenses
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2017 Posted the solicitation on September 2nd; no award made.
Fiscal Year 2018 Revised and reposted the solicitation on May 15, 2018; award anticipated by September 30, 2018.
Fiscal Year 2019 HPRIL completed the Requested for Proposals and made award selections. HPRIL provided technical assistance to WIC Special Project Grantees. HPRIL held two advisory panel meetings. HPRIL will hold a 2 and a half day sub-grantee training workshop from 9/9-9/11.
The Child Nutrition Act of 1966, Title 17, Part g, Section 5
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
The grant is to be used to establish a cooperative agreement to identify, develop and undertake projects to meet Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) program needs and the food, nutrition, and health needs of WIC eligible participants.
Beneficiary Eligibility
All Accredited Colleges/Universities were eligible to apply to this opportunity. The awardee may benefit from this assistance as well as the WIC local agencies and WIC participants that benefit from the work conducted by the awardee and the products developed from the sub-grant awards.
Not applicable.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is not applicable.
Application Procedure
This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.
Award Procedure
FNS pre-screened all applications to ensure that they contained the required documents and information, including but not limited to: all supporting documentation, the narrative proposal, Letters of Commitment from established partners specified in the application, and Agreement to Cooperate with FNS. Complete applications needed to be submitted by eligible applicants, meet all other eligibility requirements stated in this RFA, submitted on or before the required deadlines, and had to be in the required format. If an application did not include all appropriate information, FNS considered the application to be non-responsive and eliminated it from further evaluation. Following the initial screening process, FNS assembled an evaluation panel to review and determine the technical merits of each application. The evaluation criteria discussed below was applied by a panel and used to score proposals. The proposals were ranked by score starting with the highest score. The panel presented their recommendation to the selecting official based on this ranking. Awards were considered based on rank order; however, the selection official reserved the right to make an award out of rank order to meet agency priorities, program balance, geographical representation, or project diversity. FNS reserves the right to use this solicitation and competition to award additional grants in the next fiscal year should additional funds be made available through future appropriations. FNS also reserves the right to fund successful applications at an amount less than requested if it is judged that an application can be implemented at a lower funding level. At the completion of the review and awards process, FNS provided funding for the approved applicant upon receipt of a properly executed agreement.
Contact the headquarters or regional location, as appropriate for application deadlines
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
From 15 to 30 days.
From 30 to 60 days.
Not applicable.
How are proposals selected?
The following selection criteria and weights were used to evaluate applications for this RFA. All applicants were notified whether their proposal has been accepted for an award by FNS. The recipient of this cooperative agreement was required to demonstrate a thorough understanding of: barriers to retention and participation in WIC that have been previously identified in peer-reviewed literature or local, state, or Federal reports, personal factors, attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions WIC participants and eligible populations have regarding WIC, and the diverse communities WIC serves. The recipient also had to demonstrate an understanding of the services provided at local WIC agencies as well as the relationship among the Program and its approved vendors. Scoring for Grant Applications 1. Overall Approach (45) 2. Management Plan (20) 3. Staffing (20) 4. Budget (15) Total Possible Points = 100
How may assistance be used?
This Request for Applications (RFA) is open to all Accredited Colleges/Universities, and Private or Public Research Institutions. These are requirements for the selected recipient of the Cooperative Agreement, not any potential sub-grantees
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Not applicable.
Not applicable.
Records (financial/administrative/grant) are to be maintained according to the time requirements specified in the terms of cooperative agreement with Food and Nutrition Service or as applicable under federal regulation requirements.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
The total time period for this cooperative agreement is 4 years. Cooperative agreements may not be awarded for more than 60 months. Funding will be made to successful recipients as specified in the terms of the cooperative agreement with Food and Nutrition Service or as applicable under federal regulation requirements. The total funds will be released incrementally over the award years. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: Quarterly.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
None/Not specified.
Headquarters Office
Karen A. Castellanos-Brown
3101 Park Center Dr.
Alexandria, VA 22302 US
Phone: 7033052732
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Salaries and Expenses) FY 18$199,927.00; FY 19 Estimate Not Available FY 20 Estimate Not Available FY 17 FY 16 Estimate Not Available -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
HPRIL was awarded $2,000,000, including funds they used to make 5 sub-grant awards of approximately $150,000 each to local agencies.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Not applicable.
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2019 The Hopkins/USDA Research Innovation Laboratory for Enhancing WIC Services (HPRIL) is excited to announce 5 local WIC agency awardees, which will receive awards of up to $150,000 each. Selected through a competitive review process, these 18-month projects aim to address the issue of WIC Program child drop-out by improving different aspects of the WIC service delivery experience with innovative tools. HPRIL will provide evaluation support. The awardees are: Pima County, AZ Innovative Tool: a culturally-tailored text message-based drip marketing campaign, a campaign that will send monthly pre-written messages to WIC clients; Yavapai County WIC, AZ Innovative Tool: self-scheduled and on-demand nutrition education sessions via video conference; Florida Department of Public Health Miami-Dade County WIC Program, FL Innovative Tool: a culturally-tailored integrated media marketing tool, involving behavioral targeting, social media, YouTube, and geo-precise targeting; Cabarrus Health Alliance, NC Innovative Tool: an online scheduling (OAS) and queue management system, a model that has been implemented successfully in retail and other health and social services settings; and Public Health Solutions, NY Innovative Tool: a referral system and accountable network of services that will provide real-time data and care coordination and will use the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s client-centered “What Matters to You” approach to making referrals.


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