RFP: Human Nutrition

The Human Nutrition Task Force of the National Pork Board (NPB) is currently soliciting research proposals in human nutrition. This proposal uses an initial Letter of Intent (LOI) for initial screening.

This request for proposal targets research that can help advance understanding of the role of pork and pork-related nutrients:

  1. Within healthy diet patterns across cultures, life stages and socio-economic status
  2. As an environmentally sustainable protein that delivers nutrition quality, accessibility and cultural applicability
  3. Using new research methodologies that pioneer exploration of the nutritional value of pork related to specific health outcomes

The deadline to submit letters of intent is Thursday, February 29 at 5 p.m. CT. 

What Problem Does This RFP Address?

On behalf of America’s pig farmers, NPB provides science-based nutrition information to, and in collaboration with, a variety of stakeholders committed to fostering a healthier society, including health professionals, academics, industry, consumers and media.

NPB is committed to building a strong foundation of high-quality scientific evidence — from observational epidemiological and clinical intervention studies to modeling and substitution analysis research — that helps determine the health effects of pork consumption across the lifespan.

Priority Focus Areas and Research Questions

Submitted proposals must bring fundamental knowledge and application for continuous improvement relating to advancing the understanding of the role of pork and pork-related nutrients in human health.

Research in these areas may require a variety of disciplines and therefore proposals utilizing a multidisciplinary approach are highly encouraged. Proposals should reference which focus areas or priority research questions listed below are being addressed. Where applicable, proposals should provide a power analysis to document and ensure sample size is adequate.

Specific research topics and prompts are listed below, not in priority order. All proposals submitted must address at least one of the specific research focus areas or prompts described below. Novel approaches and concepts are encouraged.

1. Establish pork’s role in healthy eating patterns across cultures, life stages and socio-economic status. 

  • How does pork consumption as part of eating patterns affect diet quality and health outcomes across nations? (using representative dietary surveys (e.g., NHANES, KNHANES, SHeS, ENSANUT, ENSIN, cohort studies)) 
  • How does the inclusion of fresh pork affect intakes of key food groups and nutrients across the life stage? (e.g., in infants, adolescents, older adults) 

2. Highlight pork as a sustainable protein within the four domains of sustainable food systems [health, economics, society and the environment].  

  • What is pork’s role as of function of flavor profile, sensory aspects, enjoyment, cultural relevance, food waste, etc.? 
  • Using nutrient profiling, modeling, and substitution approaches, how does including pork as a protein food — across life stages in culturally relevant dishes modeled after the healthy eating patterns outlined in the DGAs — affect markers of nutrient status, health outcomes and environmental impact? 

3. Pioneer new research methodologies to explore the nutritional value of pork to specific health outcomes. 

  • Are there unique nutrient biomarkers relative to acute or long-term pork intake (e.g., selenium, choline, thiamin, Vitamin B6)? If so, what are their implications on target health outcomes across disease states and life stages? 
  • What are non-invasive data collection approaches (i.e. food frequency questionnaires) that can better improve dietary collection measures of pork intake (e.g. pork cuts, processing, cooking methods).

Possible Study Types

  • Human clinical trials
  • Observational studies
  • Suitable reviews, including systematic reviews and/or meta-analyses
  • Modeling or substitution analysis
  • Nutrient profiling studies
  • Discovery, pilot, pre-clinical or proof of concept studies

High Priority Study Populations

  • Vulnerable life stage (e.g. babies and children (ages 0-12 years old), adolescents (13-17), pregnancy, lactation, menopause)
  • Millennial Moms (expecting, new, current, age 27-41)*
  • Generations (Millennial, Gen Z, Alpha/Beta)
  • Older Adults (age 60+)
  • Underrepresented, minority groups (e.g., Black, Hispanic, etc.)*

Hundreds of recipes, some with full nutrient analysis, are available to investigators for use in developing their LOI submission, as applicable. Please email [email protected] for more information.


Proposals will be reviewed for scientific soundness, ability to meet current objectives and priorities of the NPB human nutrition research program and adherence to NPB’s research integrity guidelines.

Letters of Intent and if invited, full proposals, will be reviewed by NPB nutrition experts, Human Nutrition Task Force members, and a separate expert panel of external research scientists for scientific soundness.

Preference will be given to projects that involve multi-disciplinary approaches that may include academic and commercial collaborations, except where discovery is needed to establish principles necessary for additional research.

NPB will hold all information provided by the applicant in confidence while the LOI is under consideration. The information contained in the LOI will only be made available to appropriate NPB staff, affiliated Human Nutrition Task Force members and external scientific peer reviewers.

Funding Amount

There is no exact funding limit for submitted proposals for 2024 funding, but the budget request should be appropriate and justified for the work that is being proposed.

We encourage both early career and established researchers to submit, the grant value can be used as seed funding, as a new project or continuation/extension of a previous project.

Researchers are encouraged to find co-funding or matching funds or in-kind contributions for the project when possible.

Eligibility Requirements

Anyone may submit proposals for research projects. However, it is preferred that the principal investigator have a PhD, MD, or equivalent degree and be a research staff or faculty member at a non-profit academic or research institution.

The proposed study must adhere to NPB’s research integrity guidelines.

Letter of Intent Format Requirements

Letters of intent should include the following information within two pages:

  • Project title
  • First and last name
  • How NPB’s research priorities will be addressed
  • Brief background or statement of purpose
  • Hypothesis or specific aims
  • Experimental approach
  • Expected budget and study timeline (broad estimates are fine)
  • Expected outcomes and importance to the pork industry
  • References (if applicable)
  • Collaborating researcher details (optional)

Format requirements:

  • Start by downloading this template
  • Submit a Word doc (not PDF), three pages max — include the completed cover page plus a two-page LOI
  • Please name your file as follows: LAST NAME, FIRST INITIAL – Proposal
  • 12-point, Times New Roman font
  • Double-spaced
  • Margins of .5” on left, right, top and bottom
  • A CV is not required, but if included, CVs will not count against page totals

How to Submit a Letter of Intent


Go to porkcheckoff.org and under the Research tab at the top of the webpage, navigate to Research Request for Proposals.   

On the Pork Checkoff Research RFPs page, you will see a section that says, “Proposal Ready?”. Under that section, location and click on “Create New Account.”  Note: If you already have an NPB Research Portal account set up, you may sign in.  

The “Create New Account” link will take you to our new Proposal Portal where you will fill in your First Name, Last Name, and Email. Click “Sign Up.”   

An email notification from the National Pork Board will be sent to your registered email address for you to complete the registration process. Click on the URL Link in the email and create your new password.   

Once you have set up your password, you have created an account.

To submit LOI:

Login to the NPB Research Portal. Once logged in, click on Submit Proposal at the top of the page. Click on the drop down menu to select Human Nutrition RFP – 2024 and click on Next. The next page will ask if you are submitting an Letter of Intent or Proposal. Please click on Letter of Intent and click Next. You will then fill out your LOI information on the next couple of screens. Towards the end of the process you will be asked to upload your LOI document.  

Please title your document as follows: LAST NAME, FIRST INITIAL –2024Human Nutrition LOI. The page will not show your uploaded file, but when complete, click Next and then Submit.  

The NPB system will confirm receipt of the application with an automatic email.

Due Date

The deadline to submit letters of intent is Thursday, February 29 at 5 p.m. CT. 

Projects that are selected to move forward will be invited to submit a full proposal. Principal investigators will be notified by April 4 via email and provided further instructions.

If selected, full proposal applications will be due May 7.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • My university/organization is based outside of the United States. Can I still submit a proposal to the National Pork Board?

    • Yes. The National Pork Board partners with researchers in the United States and other countries. The objectives of the research project must benefit United States pork producers and the United States pork industry.
  • How long does it typically take to review Letter of Intent submissions? Can I contact the National Pork Board about the status of my Letter of Intent?

    • National Pork Board staff – including nutrition experts, Human Nutrition Task Force members, and a separate expert panel of external research scientists will review all Letters of Intent within approximately 3-4 weeks of the deadline for submission. Inquiries on the status of your Letter of Intent should be directed to [email protected].
  • Do you offer samples of pork or pork products to researchers to conduct their studies?

    • National Pork Board does not store any samples of pork or pork products, or coupons for pork or pork products, that are available for researchers to conduct studies.
  • Does NPB fund research on all types of pork and/or pork products?

    • Yes. Research on all types of pork and pork products is at the heart of the National Pork Board’s mission and is funded by Pork Checkoff dollars.
  • What can I request to be funded in the budget?

    • Graduate student support, student and other hourly labor, and post-doctoral support will be allowed. Partial support for principal investigators (PI) on less than a 12-month salaried appointment will be allowed. However, you must include a detailed budget narrative addressing the amount of requested support in relation to the PI project time commitment to justify the expense. Disposable equipment, such as test tubes, etc., is allowed.
  • What will NOT be funded if included in the budget?

    • Overhead and indirect costs are typically NOT covered by Checkoff research funds. Non-disposable equipment is not allowed unless explained in the proposal, included in the budget, and approved in advance by the Board.

Other Questions?

Kristen Hicks-Roof PhD, RDN, LDN, CLC, FAND

Director of Nutrition Research
National Pork Board
[email protected]