Grant/Fellowship Program

The ENC research program was created for the purpose of extending the understanding of the nutritional value of eggs and egg-related nutrients and the role of eggs in a healthy diet. The philosophy underpinning the research program is that eggs are an inexpensive, convenient and versatile food providing a diverse array of bioactive food components in a nutrient-dense synergistic food system. Presently, over 40 studies are on-going at 25 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 ENC-funded research publications.

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Research Priorities for 2016

  1. Egg consumption within healthy dietary patterns.

    What are the important nutrient contributions of eggs in young children when consumed as part of current dietary patterns and recommended “healthy” diet patterns?

    Are there benefits of consuming eggs at meal occasions other than breakfast?

  2. Dietary cholesterol/eggs and cardiometabolic diseases.

    Is trimethylamine-oxide pro-atherogenic or merely a marker of underlying disease?

    Is dietary cholesterol advantageous for health in certain populations?

  3. Nutrient package in eggs across the lifespan.

    What role can eggs serve in food insecure environments?

    Is there a role for eggs as an introductory food in infants or in early childhood?

  4. Sustainability

    What is the role of eggs in sustainable dietary patterns?

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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 a Scientific Advisory Panel. 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.

The Egg Nutrition Center abides by the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) North America Conflict of Interest Guiding Principles, which were created to provide guidance to researchers receiving funding from industry to help minimize the potential for bias due to funding source. Under these principles, the control of both study design and the research itself remain with the scientific investigators, not with ENC.  Before research begins, the research design must address an appropriately phrased hypothesis that does not favor a particular outcome.  Written agreements specify that the investigative team has the freedom and obligation to attempt to publish findings, regardless of the outcome.  Remuneration may not be linked in any way to the outcome of a research project. Every published ENC research project is subject to the same peer-review process as all other articles published in scientific journals.

The Conflict of Interest Guiding Principles were peer reviewed by a broad-based group of nearly 40 scientists from health-related fields, as well as by the editors and reviewers of these six scientific journals – Nutrition ReviewsThe American Journal of Clinical NutritionJournal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics formerly the American Dietetic AssociationJournal of Food ScienceNutrition Today, and The Journal of Nutrition. A pdf of the full article in Nutrition Reviews is available on the ILSI NA website and ENC website.

Briefly, the Principles state that in the conduct of public/private research relationships, all 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 attempt 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.

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 with a maximum total budget of $200,000.  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.  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.  Current research priorities and deadlines will be noted in the Request for Proposals (RFP), which will be posted in December of each year.

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 Arial 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 a Scientific Advisory Panel comprised of external experts in nutrition science and related fields. The Panel meets annually to review submitted research proposals addressing key questions such as:

  • 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 the Panel as well as current research priorities.