The Innovative Methods and Metrics for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions (IMMANA) programme is excited to announce the eight recipients of its third round of competitive research grants. Each will receive up to £250,000 for a two-year project aimed at validating or developing tools, methods and metrics for measuring agriculture or food system, nutrition and health interactions of importance in low and middle-income countries. Grantees were selected through a lengthy and rigorous process by the IMMANA Independent Panel of Experts and Steering Committee from a pool of 78 applications.
These eight projects (four development and four validation) span the globe and cover key gaps in areas including measuring women‘s empowerment and time use, ultra-processed food consumption, food environments, impact pathways and food security for school-aged children. Learn more about the projects and click through to their pages on our site:
Zvitambo Institute for Maternal and Child Health, “Development of holistic metrics for food and water insecurity and school-age child function for nutrition-sensitive programmes”, Zimbabwe (starting in February 2021):
Principal Investigator (PI) Andrew Prendergast said that “This will enable holistic evaluation of the long-term impact of nutrition and agriculture programmes in sub-Saharan Africa.” Their team will look at school-age growth, cognition and physical function in a cohort of rural Zimbabwean children, age 7.
Rutgers School of Public Health, “The Food Environment Toolbox: Tools to Measure Natural and Built Food Environments in Low- and Middle-Income Countries”, India and Haiti (starting in October 2021):
This Grant aims to develop a toolbox that “can be used to assess changes in food environments over time and across different spaces as well as examine the links between food environments and diets,” said PI Shauna Downs.
University of Texas at Austin, “Validating the Women’s Empowerment in Nutrition Index in East Africa”, Kenya (starting in March 2021):
After a successful IMMANA Grants Round 1 project to validate the Women’s Empowerment in Nutrition Index (WENI) in rural South Asia, PI Erin Lentz said that this Round 3 Grant will validate “WENI against anthropometric and dietary diversity outcomes in East Africa.” The Grant “will include a cross-metric assessment of consistency across and predictive ability of several key empowerment metrics, such as WENI, WEAI and SWPER.”
Fundação Faculdade de Medicina (FFM), “A validation study of a dietary assessment instrument capturing ultra-processed food consumption in multiple countries”, Brazil, Ecuador, India, Senegal (starting in April 2021):
This is the first IMMANA Grant focused on ultra-processed foods. Carlos Augusto Monteiro, PI, said, "The development of a simple diet screener to monitor time trends in ultra-processed food consumption offers an unique opportunity to broaden the assessment of diet quality regarding potential non-communicable disease risks."
Helen Keller International, “Using causal mediation models to examine multi-sectoral health and nutrition program impact paths and moderation by agricultural interventions and equity”, Nepal (starting in April 2022):
The models developed by this project “will enable us to determine the extent to which a multi-sectoral program’s theoretical program impact paths took place and whether the intervention paths varied across sub-populations,” said Dale Davis, Nepal Country Director for Helen Keller International.
University of Reading, “Activity Spaces and Household Exclusion from Food Environments”, Thailand and Laos (starting in January 2022):
“Our project uses the concept of “activity spaces” to explore the interaction of urban and rural households with the external food environment and its impact on food acquisition, consumption and nutritional outcomes. Our fieldwork in Thailand and Laos will be aimed at developing an index of exclusion of household from the external food environment and provide insights for development of more inclusive food environments in developing countries,” said PI Chittur Srinivasan, noting that “the relevance of activity spaces in explaining interactions of households with the external food environment has been dramatically highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic through the imposition of restrictions on activity spaces.”
CIRAD, “Measuring Food Consumed Away From Home in a rapidly transitioning world”, Burkina Faso and Vietnam (starting in May 2021):
Elodie Maitre d’Hotel, PI, said, “The objective of our project is to design, field-test and validate through a rigorous experimental design a survey module that captures critical information on the nutritional dimension of food consumed away from home in low and middle Income countries.”
Natural Resources Institute, “Validation of ICTs for understanding women’s time use, dietary diversity and hygiene practices”, Uganda (starting in April 2021)
Grants were evaluated on the basis of innovation, scientific excellence and originality, development relevance, translational value and collaborative approaches. Applicants were encouraged to align with findings from the IMMANA Evidence and Gap Map and find unique opportunities to innovate in light of gaps across thematic domains, tools, methods and metrics. Led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), IMMANA Grants are co-funded with UK Aid from the UK government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.