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Funding Opportunities

General Solicitation

Each year, the Dairy the National Dairy Council™ (NDC) seeks nutrition and product research pre-proposals that will further discoveries about and utilization of dairy foods and ingredients across the lifespan.

The General Solicitation furthers the goals of NDC nutrition and product research by fostering new research on:

  • The health benefits of dairy foods and ingredients that will help establish a strong scientific foundation aimed at improving public health (Nutrition Research)
  • The quality, performance and safety of dairy foods and ingredients that will lead to increased consumption of dairy (Product Research)

Supplemental Support Solicitation

The National Dairy Council ™ (NDC) encourages collaboration among researchers and funding agencies in order to foster a healthier society by leveraging existing resources and expertise. Therefore, NDC recognizes that there may be instances when additional support is needed to enhance existing non-NDC funded projects. Principal investigators with an existing grant, either pending or active, may apply for supplemental support if

  • The project is evaluating the effects of dairy foods or ingredients on health (Nutrition Research)
  • The project is examining new ways to improve the safety and quality of dairy foods or ingredients (Product Research)
  • The investigators would like to add additional dairy-related arms/analyses to a study that was not originally examining dairy foods or ingredients

Examples of supplemental support include:

  • Projects that enhance objectives or measurements being obtained in an ongoing or new dairy-related project that is funded by governmental agencies, foundations, the food industry, or other sources
  • Conducting secondary analyses on existing data sets related to dairy and health (Nutrition Research)

In recognition that investigators may receive awards from other organizations throughout the year, Supplemental Support pre-proposals are accepted year-round. If you already have an existing grant from another funding agency (e.g. NIH or USDA) and are interested in applying for supplemental support, see either the Product Research or Nutrition Research Supplemental Support calls.

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Evaluation Criteria


Pre-proposals submitted to the National Dairy CouncilTM (NDC) are reviewed by NDC Nutrition and/or Product Research scientists to determine:

  • If the hypotheses and objectives are logical
  • If the proposed methods are valid and will adequately test the stated hypoth​eses
  • If the proposed budget and timeline is reasonable for work proposed
  • If the pre-proposal addresses the criteria outlined in the request for pre-proposals as well as meets the current objectives of the Nutrition or Product Research programs

Full Research Proposals

NDC accepts full proposals by invitation only. Full proposals are externally peer reviewed for scientific merit by scientists from academia, government, and/or industry. The applications are subsequently reviewed by NDC Nutrition or Product Research scientists for scientific validly and to determine if the application meets the needs of the research program.

Overall, full research proposals will be reviewed and evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. Scientific merit:
    • Are the hypotheses and objectives logical and achievable?
    • Did the principal investigator demonstrate awareness of the published literature and current research related to the proposed project?
    • Was preliminary data, especially for clinical trials, provided to support successful testing of the hypothesis?
    • Is the experimental design, including the analytical and statistical methods, appropriate?
    • Are the credentials of the principal investigator and research team strong in the proposed research area?
    • Are related program support, facilities, and equipment adequate?
  2. The proposal application guidelines and format were followed
  3. The application was written against a priority research area (See specific calls for more information)
  4. The full proposal matches what was proposed in the accepted pre-proposal​
  5. The proposed study will not duplicate existing or ongoing research funded by dairy and non-dairy sources
  6. The proposed project addresses specific research gaps important to the dairy industry

All information contained in the proposal that is not otherwise available to the public will be held in confidence while submitted pre-proposals are under consideration by NDC. Additionally, the information contained in the pre-proposals will be made available only to appropriate NDC staff and external scientific advisory committees.

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Key Timelines for 2024 Nutrition Research General Solicitation

May 22, 2024
Solicitation Launch

July 8, 2024
Pre-proposal Submission Deadline

August 8, 2023
Pre-proposal Decision Notifications

September 20, 2024
Full Proposal Deadline

December 2024
Final funding decision on full proposals

Key Timelines for 2024 Product Research General Solicitation

June 24, 2024
Solicitation Launch

August 5, 2024
Pre-proposal Submission Deadline

September 9, 2024
Pre-proposal Decision Notifications

October 28, 2024
Full Proposal Deadline

January/February 2025
Final funding decision on full proposals

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Guiding Principles

Scientific Integrity

  • Pursue research on behalf of the dairy community to ensure quality and safety of dairy products, stimulate new product and ingredient innovation and better understand the role of dairy foods in healthy, sustainable eating patterns.
  • Administer research grants through a competitive process that engages the expertise of external scientists to evaluate grant proposals.
  • Adhere rigorously to accepted scientific principles, methods and conduct to guide study design, execution, data analysis, interpretation and presentation of results. Furthermore, National Dairy Council requires academic independence in the design, implementation, analysis, interpretation and ability to report and publish all findings of any sponsored research.
  • Research will be conducted in accordance with applicable laws and regulations for proper treatment of research subjects, animals and materials, including review and approval of human and animal study protocols by accredited and appropriate institutional review boards.


  • Disclose freely when National Dairy Council is a funding source or sponsor of research in all types of publications.
  • Results from National Dairy Council-funded research will be made publicly available through publication in reputable peer-reviewed scientific journals, abstracts at scientific meetings and presentations to professionals. Once the research is published, results will also be communicated in ways that are truthful and not misleading to non-scientist audiences. Communication in these ways is encouraged for all research findings.
  • Subject all National Dairy Council scientific research to USDA review and oversight as described in The Dairy Promotion Stabilization Act of 1983, 7 U.S.C. § 4501 et seq.

Public-Private Partnerships

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Note: NDC reviews these guiding principles on an annual basis to ensure they remain relevant, appropriate and useful.

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