Debra Lieberman on Health Games Research's new Call for Proposals

Jan 15, 2009, 4:00 AM, Posted by


Debra, can you tell us about the types of grants that will be available through this Call for Proposals?

The focus of the Call for Proposals (CFP), both during the first round of funding and now, is on research that will discover principles of health game design. This year the funding limit is higher: $300,000.  The money must be used primarily for research and only a small percentage of the grant – no more than 25 percent of the funding – is permitted to be used for developing game software or technology that will be used in the study   Also, like last year, the research must focus on a physical activity game that motivates people to get up and move, and/or on a self-care game that motivates people to engage in prevention, lifestyle improvement, self-management of chronic conditions or adherence to their treatment plan.  As we saw last year, these guidelines keep the program focused, yet they are not so restrictive that we don’t see a wide range of research issues addressed, game platforms used, game genres, research questions or study populations in the funded projects.

Are there specific things that you’re looking in this round of grantees?

We are looking for projects that focus on physical activity games and self-care games. The games may appear on any platform, with any genre, but they must be well designed and have theory or evidence demonstrating the game’s effectiveness.   

How can people learn more about this funding opportunity?

The complete Health Games Research Call for Proposals is available at  Additionally, there will be two optional web conference calls for potential applicants on February 11, 2009 (3 p.m. ET) and February 19, 2009 (4 p.m. ET).  Proposals are due by 3 p.m. ET on April 8, 2009. The conference calls are great opportunities for potential applicants to learn more about the program and to ask questions about the CFP requirements.

 Are there any tips you want to share with potential applicants?

The best tip I can give is to encourage applicants to read the Call for Proposals carefully and make sure that all the criteria and requirements have been met. Make sure your research team has the skills required to carry out the proposed project and that you are realistic about the budget and time line. Be sure to provide a good theory-based justification for your research plan, too. What are your hypotheses? Are they based on any theoretical knowledge and findings that already exist, and how are you taking your study to the next level? And be sure to include a dissemination plan for your work and explain how your findings will help us improve health games in the future

Thanks so much to Debra for taking the time to talk with us.  Health Games Research is taking on some really exciting work and we look forward to following the progress of the project's grantees. 

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Pioneering Ideas blog.