Research, Evaluation and Learning

Since our inception, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has been driven by a continuous cycle of research, evaluation and learning. In connection with our focus areas, we work to expand our nation's evidence base on the many factors which shape health, and what types of policy and system changes have greatest potential for impact.

RWJF Research Programs

RWJF's signature research programs are helping to identify the root causes of health disparities in America, and potential solutions to improve health, equity and wellbeing. Visit the websites below for more information, or use our Program Finder to find your ideal RWJF program opportunity.

Evidence for Action

Evidence for Action (E4A) funds research examining the impact of policies, programs and partnerships on health, wellbeing, and equity.

Now accepting applications!

Policies for Action

Policies for Action (P4A) funds research that identifies policies, laws, and other regulatory tools that can be leveraged to build a Culture of Health.

Systems for Action

Systems for Action (S4A) funds research to discover and help apply new evidence on ways of aligning America's systems of healthcare delivery and financing.

Health Data for Action

Health Data for Action (HD4A) links researchers with valuable health data, and funding research to help answer important, policy-relevant questions.


Health Equity Scholars for Action

Health Equity Scholars for Action (HES4A) offers funding and mentorship to early career researchers from underrepresented backgrounds.


Through our research programs, we fund a range of types of research projects, including:

  • Targeted Research—solicited and often rapid-cycle projects to address key gaps in knowledge and inform efforts to improve health, health equity and wellbeing.
  • Policy and Systems Research—exploratory and advanced studies seeking a deeper understanding about potential benefits and implications of alternative approaches.
  • Research-Driven Demonstrations—projects that address particular research questions which may have broad ramifications both for our grantmaking and broader health policy and practice.

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Evaluation and Learning

Learn more

Watch the video

Alonzo Plough, chief science officer at RWJF, shares how the Foundation is applying its cycle of research, evaluation and learning to its efforts to build a Culture of Health.


Evaluation is a cornerstone of our approach to philanthropy. We believe deeply in the value of sharing key insights from our grantmaking—what worked, what didn’t, and why.

Generally, our formal evaluation activities fall into two major categories: Third-party evaluations assessing the impact of our funding, and real-time monitoring of national and local system changes which relate to our grant programs, so we can make adjustments as needed. We also support a range of activities to embed learning throughout our decision-making, and capture lessons learned from our grantmaking.

Evidence for Policy and Practice

When it comes to addressing our nation's critical health challenges, the greatest opportunity for lasting change often lives within public policies that affect health, equity and wellbeing.

Across our work, RWJF leverages decades of research to assist policymakers at the federal, state and local level in their efforts to safeguard and improve health in the communities they serve:

  • We support research—We fund researchers across academic disciplines whose work can inform efforts to build healthier and more equitable communities.
  • We provide resources—We publish evidence-based, nonpartisan analyses to help guide the development and implementation of public policies, and assess policy impact.
  • We collaborate—We fund and participate in convenings, coalitions, and briefings with leaders across sectors to facilitate the exchange of ideas on state and national policy issues.

RWJF Program Evaluations

Evaluations assessing the impact of our grants and grant programs, and sharing insights from our grantmaking.

Browse Program Evaluations

RWJF Retrospectives

Comprehensive looks back at groups of RWJF programs that worked together to achieve and leverage big changes.

Browse Retrospectives

RWJF Assessments

Biennial self-assessment reports based on key indicators of organizational performance.

Browse Assessments
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Explore our national Action Framework for health, equity and wellbeing.
Learn about RWJF's four major grantmaking focus areas.
Browse all RWJF open funding opportunities and calls for proposals.