Tufts/UConn RIDGE Program

Tufts University/University of Connecticut Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics (RIDGE) Program

Tufts/UConn RIDGE was an extramural small grants program, from 2016-2021, administered by Tufts University and the University of Connecticut, with two rounds of awards in 2017 and 2019. 

To address national objectives for improved food security and dietary quality, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) supported useful extramural research in economics aimed at understanding and enhancing the nation’s nutrition assistance programs. Bringing together the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, two institutions with a long record of research leadership in this area, the Tufts/UConn RIDGE Program:

  • oversaw research grants on both major and smaller nutrition assistance programs,
  • supported a broad community of researchers applying their expertise to nutrition assistance topics,
  • mentored new investigators in nutrition assistance research,
  • promoted the relevance of extramural research for nutrition assistance policy, and
  • sought to enhance communication of results through appropriate technology innovations.

Some features included using an online platform to manage the grant submission and review process, a videoconferencing option for an interim grantee meeting, incorporating short video presentations into the design of grant deliverables, a mixed in-person/remote design for the RIDGE Outcomes Conference in Washington, DC, and web-based dissemination of results. The Tufts/UConn RIDGE Program built on our team’s detailed knowledge of U.S. nutrition assistance policy and a long-term career commitment to the field of nutrition assistance research. The project team included RIDGE Directors and a National Advisory Board.



Acknowledgement: RIDGE was made possible by support from USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and Economic Research Service (ERS). The views expressed in our research are those of the investigators and cannot be attributed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, FNS, or ERS.