Research Grant Program Policy 2024

The mission of the Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research (CFDR) is to be the catalyst for dietetic and applied nutrition research by funding research and disseminating new knowledge in support of evidence – based decisions.

The primary objective of CFDR is to support research related to areas of dietetic practice including foodservice administration, clinical and community, education and training, or public health dietetic practice. Within the broad area of practice-based dietetic research, the priority of CFDR is to support research that is of direct relevance to the nutritional wellbeing of populations within Canada. CFDR strives to support practicing dietitians by funding research that will guide decisions and service delivery in their daily practice.

The grant awards are for small projects with budgets under $10,000 or for larger projects with budgets of up to $20,000. Applications for grants less than $10,000 are limited to projects that can be completed within one year of the initiation of CFDR funding. Applications for grants greater than $10,000 can have up to two years within the initiation of CFDR funding to complete the project.

CFDR research grants are not intended to supplement other grants. However, CFDR will review a grant proposal that has been submitted concurrently to other granting/funding agencies. If successful, shared or joint funding may be undertaken at the discretion of the agencies concerned. If partial funding of a larger project is requested, the proposal must clearly state how CFDR funds will be used and how that piece of work will be a distinct project to be conducted within the time frame for CFDR with results published separately. Applicants must inform CFDR of any support requested and/or received from other funding bodies for the same project.

The goal of CFDR is to support research from dietitians practicing dietetics, in preference to dietitians who are career researchers and whose primary mandate is to pursue scholarly activities (e.g., dietitians working as university faculty members). CFDR strongly encourages collaboration between colleagues in diverse dietetic practice and academic settings.


    • Applications will only be considered from a principal investigator or co-principal investigator who is a member of the dietetic profession (registered dietitian) as identified by membership in a Canadian dietetics regulatory body AND either the principal investigator or co-principal investigator needs to be a member of Dietitians of Canada. A member of the research team must be practicing dietetics. If funding is approved, regulatory college and DC membership must be maintained for the entire period of the research.
    • The principal or co-principal investigators must be affiliated with institutions or organizations that will act as Sponsors on behalf of the grant applications. Sponsors must be registered with Revenue Canada as conducting charitable activities. Health agencies including universities, hospitals, provincial and municipal government departments and public health units, community groups or associations and non-profit organizations are eligible. Grants will not be awarded to individuals, or to organizations not recognized as charitable under the Federal Income Tax Act.
    • The grant must be held at the institution of either the principal investigator or the co-principal investigator.
    • Applicants must not have current or outstanding CFDR funded projects and reports at the time the grant funding is released from CFDR.

Areas of Support

Priority research directions for the 2024 CFDR grants are outlined in the five category descriptions below. CFDR is seeking a diversity of skills, knowledge, background, and viewpoints. We strongly encourage applications from underrepresented groups, such as First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, racialized persons, and those who identify as 2SLGBTQ+. Preferences will be given to project submissions that reflect a collaborative approach to research.

1. Advance Innovative Practices [or “Critically (Re)Thinking Dietetic Practice”]

This focuses on creating new methods and/or advancing existing ones within dietetics.  Social, economic, and technological changes offer new opportunities to meet health needs. New roles emerge with novel services, in new environments, in new management structures, with non-traditional partners and with new resource development. Evaluation of new models and approaches may lead to improved access, security, cost-effectiveness, and satisfaction of nutrition services. This could also include how dietitians work together with other health care professionals (and clients), how new interventions are designed, and how effectiveness of dietetic practice is assessed.

There is also a need to understand existing and emerging professional practice issues through examining current education theory (teaching and learning) and practices (screening, assessment, planning interventions, implementation, evaluation, monitoring) and to create new knowledge. Focus areas relevant to practice include practicum training, integration of technology and systems, health human resources, social justice, diversity, and outcomes measures and evaluation.

1. Identify Determinants of Food Choice

Choices regarding food are complex and are influenced by many factors including culture, geography, age, gender, lifestyle, income, education, belief, practice, and availability. Research provides further understanding of these factors and benefits the design and delivery of a wide range of nutrition services and products for specific consumer groups.

2. Accelerate Cultural Safety, Diversity, and Health Equity in Practice

Cultural safety is an outcome based on respectful engagement that recognizes and strives to address power imbalances inherent in the healthcare system. It results in an environment free of racism and discrimination, where people feel safe when receiving healthcare.

Diversity refers to the variety of unique dimensions, qualities, and characteristics that an individual possesses, such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. Research on new roles for dietitians may also include diversity in the profession and working with diverse clients.

Nutritional vulnerability may arise for social, economic, cultural, or biological reasons that impair utilization of nutrients or limit access to nutritionally adequate food and nutrition services. An improved understanding of individuals at risk of nutritional vulnerability, their nutritional needs and identifying and adopting best practices are needed to address these issues in an equitable manner.

Research focusing on underrepresented groups, such as Indigenous populations and racialized communities, are strongly encouraged.

Community research may include the evaluation of policies, programs, practices, and tools to improve knowledge, attitudes, access, equity and/or behaviour as well as the development of indicators of community health status and health promotion indicators of change.

3. Transform Food Environments

Food environments refer to the aspects of the social and physical environment that affect the types of food available, the accessibility of food (food security, food sustainability, food sovereignty, food literacy), and the nutrition information that people are exposed to, including agriculture and food marketing. This includes contexts such as: institutional (healthcare, educational, carceral, daycare, long term care); community-based (food distribution, gardens, kitchens); recreational (sports activities, entertainment sites, camps); business and commercial (hospitality, restaurants, catering, food and beverage industry including therapeutic products). Food service systems and health services research may look at the evaluation of services delivered.

4. Evaluate Effectiveness of Clinical Interventions

Clinical research may include evaluation of feeding methods, special diets, or education/counseling approaches on such outcomes as nutrient intake, biochemical, anthropometric or functional measures of health. There is also a need to develop and validate outcome measures/indicators for future intervention studies.

Areas of Non-Support

CFDR WILL NOT provide funding for:

    • Annual fund-raising campaigns
    • Basic science research, including animal experimentation
    • Budget deficits
    • Building funds or other capital cost campaigns
    • Cost of continuing education programs or activities of dietitians
    • Cost of educational programs for dietetic interns or support staff
    • Cost of films, books, journals, cookbooks, patient care manuals, or videos
    • Cost of office furniture, photographic equipment, computers, etc.
    • Major equipment and equipment service contracts
    • Major laboratory test expenses
    • Ongoing research previously supported by other funding agencies
    • Operating or overhead costs of an organization or department
    • Projects to be conducted outside of Canada
    • Salaries/remuneration for dietetic interns, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows
    • Salaries/remuneration of the investigators or full-time employees of universities, dietetic or public health departments or other agencies participating in the project
    • Secretarial assistance
    • Service programs


The Research Grant application involves a 2-step process:

Step 1- Letter of Intent

Applicants are required to submit a Letter of Intent for the advertised competition.

The CFDR Scientific Review Committee reviews and scores the Letters of Intent based on defined criteria outlined in the Letter of Intent Submission Guide. Applicants with the highest scores are then invited to submit full proposals. The decisions of the Scientific Review Committee are final.

Step 2 – Grant Proposal

The Scientific Review Committee assesses the invited applications based on scientific merit and relevance to dietetic practice. Invited applicants are expected to submit names of external reviewers; the Scientific Review Committee determines if the services of external reviewers are required. External reviewers are selected for their expertise in research methodology and the relevance of their expertise to the content of the submission.

Applications considered to be fundable are ranked based on fair assessment criteria outlined by CFDR’s Scientific Review Committee available at Decisions of full, partial or conditional support may be recommended. The recommendations of the Scientific Review Committee and decisions of CFDR are final.

Written reviews on full application proposals are provided to applicants at the end of the competition and after the results are announced. The discussions of the Scientific Review Committee are not recorded in these reports nor are the reviewers identified.

Applicants whose proposals are not funded have the opportunity to address feedback and resubmit a Letter of Intent in a subsequent funding cycle.

CFDR reserves the right to publish the names and photographs of successful applicants, their institutions, the titles of the projects and to quote from the project proposals.  Applicants are encouraged to promote CFDR in their communication channels. CFDR reserves the right to report on published accounts of CFDR funded projects in public communications.