Egg Nutrition Studies and Research Grants

The Egg Nutrition Center prides itself in being able to annually support research that advances the understanding of the nutritional value of eggs and egg-related nutrients and the role of eggs in a healthy diet. Our research grants are administered through a competitive process that engages the expertise of external scientists to evaluate grant proposals. All projects must adhere to strict research integrity principles (see below) and abide by the core values of objectivity, accountability, and transparency.

Presently, over 50 studies are on-going at 35 institutions across the country. Although specific priorities vary year to year, ENC generally supports epidemiological, clinical, and basic research studies.  Please click here for a list of publications that received nutrition research funding from ENC.

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Research Priorities for 2017

  1. What is the effect of daily egg consumption on insulin sensitivity in at-risk subjects?

    -Interested in randomized controlled trials in individuals with prediabetes or metabolic syndrome.

     

  2. Do eggs contribute to brain development/function in infants/children?

    -Interested in pre-clinical, clinical or observational studies evaluating the relationships between intake of whole eggs and neurological development and cognitive function in infants and children.

     

  3. What is the relationship between intake of eggs and cognitive function in older adults?

    -Interested in pre-clinical, clinical or observational studies evaluating the relationships between intake of whole eggs and cognitive function outcomes in healthy or at-risk older adults.

     

  4. Within the school environment, could egg consumption positively contribute to nutritional, academic, or behavioral outcomes? 

    -A recent pilot study evaluated in-school, protein-based snacks and noted possible improvements in classroom behavior.  ENC is interested in similar interventions or related studies.

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ENC administers an annual research program with over $2 million dollars provided by America’s egg farmers through the USDA and the American Egg Board. The program uses a formal grant cycle that begins on or around January 1 with a Request for Proposals (RFP) using a Letter-of-Intent (LOI). Selected applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal. All proposals are reviewed by external nutrition experts. Current ENC research interests and deadlines will be updated annually and posted as part of that year’s RFP.

The LOI should be limited to 2 pages, single spaced, 11-point font and should include: title, principal investigator, institution, brief introduction, hypothesis for the proposed project, specific aims, summary of experimental approach, budget and timeline, and contribution of the research to the egg industry. Principal investigators may submit multiple LOIs.  

ENC will entertain ad hoc proposals outside of the annual grant cycle. Funding for ad hoc proposals is limited and any proposal must be timely and highly relevant. Ideas for ad hoc proposals should be sent to research@eggnutritioncenter.org.

There has been significant public debate about the susceptibility of research to biases of various kinds, including industry-funding.  The Egg Nutrition Center has adopted several key actions to minimize research bias against inherent or perceived conflicts of interest and foster research integrity.

We adhere to the clear and transparent guiding principles for industry collaborations established by the North American branch of the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), which were created to provide guidance to researchers receiving funding from the food industry to help minimize the potential for bias due to the funding source (click here). In accordance with these guiding principles, the Egg Nutrition Center grants academic independence in the design, implementation, analysis, interpretation, and ability to report and publish all findings of any sponsored research.  Written agreements with all academic research institutions specify that the investigative team has the obligation to publish research findings, regardless of the outcome.  Investigators are also contractually bound to transparently report the Egg Nutrition Center, other financial sponsors, and/or any inherent or perceived conflicts of interests in all publications, presentations or communications (e.g., media interviews).

In accordance to the guiding principles for industry collaborations cited above, all Egg Nutrition Center research relationships and relevant parties shall:

  • Conduct or sponsor research that is factual, transparent, and designed objectively; according to accepted principles of scientific inquiry, the research design will generate an appropriately phrased hypothesis and the research will answer the appropriate questions, rather than favor a particular outcome;
  • Require control of both study design and research itself to remain with scientific investigators;
  • Not offer or accept remuneration geared to the outcome of a research project;
  • Prior to the commencement of studies, ensure that there is a written agreement that the investigative team has the freedom and obligation to publish the findings within some specified time-frame;
  • Require, in publications and conference presentations, full signed disclosure of all financial interests;
  • Not participate in undisclosed paid authorship arrangements in industry-sponsored publications or presentations;
  • Guarantee accessibility to all data and control of statistical analysis by investigators and appropriate auditors/reviewers; and
  • Require that academic researchers, when they work in contract research organizations (CRO) or act as contract researchers, make clear statements of their affiliation; require that such researchers publish only under the auspices of the CRO.

 

Helpful Resources:

Equator Network Reporting Guidelines for Main Study Types (click here)

National Academy of Medicine Standards for Systematic Reviews (click here)

International Life Sciences Institute, North America Guidelines for Scientific Integrity (click here)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Guiding Principles for Public-Private Partnerships (click here)

What is ENC’s policy on indirect costs?

ENC allows indirect costs up to 10% per USDA authorization.

What are budget and time constraints on ENC research grants?

ENC prefers projects that are two years or less in duration. Pilot projects will be funded up to $50,000.  Principal investigator salary may be included up to a maximum of 20% if justified.

When are funds typically awarded?

ENC strives to notify investigators of research awards by the end of the second quarter of the calendar year.  Based on prior years, final contracts are typically executed by the end of the third quarter, with first payments distributed late during that calendar year.

How many LOIs are received each year?

ENC typically receives 40-50 LOIs each year.

How many full proposals are ultimately requested following review of the LOIs?

Although the number fluctuates year to year, approximately 15 full proposals are requested from the pool of LOIs. From these applications, approximately 50% are funded in part or in full.

Are investigators from institutions outside of the United States eligible for an ENC research grant?

ENC accepts LOIs from investigators outside of the United States.

Does ENC co-fund projects with other funding organizations?

ENC has co-funded several projects with other organizations and encourages investigators to seek co-funding opportunities.  Questions regarding co-funded projects should be directed to Research@eggnutritioncenter.org.

ENC, in collaboration with the American Egg Board, is proud to support young scientists through our annual Young Investigator Research Award for Early Exploration. These awards are to assist students and post-doctoral fellows in producing preliminary research results that will support future studies or enhance the scope of current research projects beyond funding limits.  Examples of the types of projects include proof-of-concept studies, pre-clinical data, secondary data analysis from clinical trials, and development of research methodology.  The next call for proposals will not be posted before December of 2017.

Eligible applicants should submit a letter-of-intent (LOI) in response to the RFP.  The LOI is limited to 2 pages, single-spaced, 11-point font. The LOI should contain: title of the proposal, applicant name and contact information, applicant’s year of study, department and university name, brief introduction that provides a statement of the proposed work’s objectives, methods, brief budget justification, and significant/relevance to eggs. The applicant’s curriculum vitae and a letter of recommendation from the applicant’s advisor should accompany the LOI.

Awards will be issued in the form of a one-year stipend up to $20,000 (inclusive of indirect costs). Please note that USDA authorization for ENC research allows a maximum indirect cost recovery of 10%. Funding can be used for research supplies, and travel to present at a national meeting.

Criteria for selection include:

  • Evidence of superior academic achievement
  • Likelihood of pursuing a career in teaching and/or research in the field of nutrition in the U.S.
  • Proposed work is of high scientific merit
  • Research can realistically be completed in 1 year

Any questions can be directed to the Research Director at research@eggnutritioncenter.org.

ENC utilizes external experts in nutrition science and related fields to review grant submissions, focusing on the following key questions:

  • Are the hypotheses and objectives sound and achievable?
  • Is the experimental design appropriate for addressing the proposed objectives?
  • Does the investigative team have the expertise and facilities to execute the protocol?
  • Does the proposal align with the priority research areas outlined each year?

Decisions for funding are based on the recommendations of these experts as well as current research priorities.