The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced a new funding opportunity: RESEARCH TO REDUCE CONSUMER FOOD WASTE IN THE UNITED STATES.
The EPA as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, is seeking applications proposing cutting-edge transdisciplinary research (integrating diverse disciplines such as food science and nutrition, public health, behavioral economics, marketing, sociology, social psychology) to develop, apply, and test innovative and creative community-engaged approaches/methods (interventions) to reduce household food waste through prevention (i.e., not redistribution) in the United States (U.S.) in real world (i.e., not laboratory) settings. Prevention of household food waste means that the amount of food available for consumption in a household that is not ultimately eaten by the household is reduced. Prevention of household food waste means that the amount of food available for consumption in a household that is not ultimately eaten by the household is reduced.
Applicants should propose a community-engaged research project that addresses at least one of the following three pathways to reduce household food waste through prevention:
1) Changing the U.S. food environment to discourage waste by consumers.
2) Strengthening consumers' motivation, opportunity, and ability to reduce food waste.
3) Leveraging and applying research findings and technology to support consumers in food waste reduction.
Applicants should consider all of the following research questions in developing and evaluating potentially effective intervention(s) to reduce household food waste in real world settings:
- How can current scientific understanding of drivers strengthen consumers' motivation, opportunity, and ability to reduce food waste?
- What behaviors and/or population segments have the greatest potential to prevent household food waste?
- What changes in food environment (e.g., changes at supermarket or in-home kitchens) have the greatest potential to prevent household food waste?
- What are the important interactions between drivers, nutritional factors, and socioeconomic factors for U.S. consumers?
- How can effective interventions be designed at the community level?
- What are the behaviors and barriers, by community segments, to preventing food waste in households?
- What would be the key messages, materials, outlets, and messengers?
- How can promising interventions be implemented effectively at community scales and larger (i.e., regional, national) scales?
Researchers are strongly encouraged to involve communities and/or community-based organizations in the formulation of research objectives. Projects should build upon existing research where available and include partnerships with state, local, community, or private entities with the ability to change the food environment (e.g., supermarkets or food manufacturers) where possible. Research should examine how the approaches/methods (interventions) could be implemented effectively on community and larger scales. Interventions that demonstrate high levels of both efficacy and effectiveness are needed to significantly reduce household food waste; hence, applicants should aim to study not only the intervention's efficacy but also its effectiveness in their proposed research.
EPA anticipates outcomes from this research to include improved understanding of consumer benefits and barriers to prevention of food waste, demonstrated effectiveness of interventions to reduce household food waste, improved methods to engage communities in food waste prevention behaviors, increased sharing of replicable research-supported solutions, and ultimately a reduction in food waste and its associated environmental impacts. The ultimate outcome would be reduction of food waste and its negative impacts on the environment.
Approximately two awards will be funded for up to a total of $750,000 per award, including direct and indirect costs, with a maximum duration of three years. Cost-sharing is not required.
To review the application requirements and informational webinar slides, please see https://www.epa.gov/research-grants/research-reduce-consumer-food-waste-united-states-request-applications-rfa
Applications are due by 2/9/2022 via www.grants.gov.
Kathleen Nolan, Director, ANR Office of Contracts & Grants (OCG)