Date and Location Announced for NUTRITION 2023! Join us in Boston, July 22-25, 2023. Learn more here. 

The Use of Adversarial Collaboration in Nutrition & Obesity Research

A joint effort between the American Society for Nutrition and the NIDDK-Supported University of Alabama at Birmingham Nutrition Obesity Research Center

One $25,000 planning grant and travel expenses for two to NUTRITION 2023 will be awarded!

The fields of nutrition and obesity research have many ongoing scientific debates with two sides displaying opposing and deeply-held theoretical and often ideological viewpoints. Adversarial collaboration is a framework intended to resolve these debates by calling on scholars with opposing views to make good faith efforts to articulate each other’s positions; work together to design methods that both sides agree constitute a fair test and that they agree have the potential to change their minds; and publish the results, regardless of “who wins, loses or draws.”  

The American Society for Nutrition (ASN) is excited to partner with the University of Alabama at Birmingham Nutrition Obesity Research Center to pilot the use of adversarial collaboration in nutrition and obesity research.

What You Need to Know

  • One $25,000 planning grant (and more) will be awarded to a research team to collaborate on a project that aims to resolve an important question in nutrition and/or obesity science.
  • The deadline for proposals is February 17, 2023. Click here for detailed proposal instructions.
  • The winning team will coordinate a session at NUTRITION 2023 to define the opposing views and their approach to tackling the topic.
  • A research team must consist of a minimum of two scientists with opposing views who will prepare a research plan to advance the science on a controversial topic.
  • At least one member of the research team must be eligible to submit an R01 or equivalent grant. Click here for R01 eligibility criteria.
  • In the summer of 2023, the winning team will meet at the University of Alabama at Birmingham with NORC experts to prepare an R01 or equivalent grant application.
  • In addition to the planning grant, travel expenses to NUTRITION 2023 and the University of Alabama at Birmingham will be covered for two individuals from the winning team.

Key dates

Watch a one-hour webinar recording to learn more about adversarial collaboration and how it can advance our field. CPE for Registered Dietitians will be available.

February 17: Deadline for Letters of Intent

March 17: Notification of winning research team

Summer 2023: NUTRITION 2023 (more information coming soon!)

Speakers

David Allison, PhD
Dean & Distinguished Professor
Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington

Cory Clark, PhD
Executive Director
University of Pennsylvania Adversarial Collaboration Project

Drew Sayer, PhD

Assistant Professor
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Below, please find links to the slides from the event held on November 10:

· Welcome and Introductions (Speaker: James Hill, PhD)

· The Adversarial Collaboration Framework (Speaker: Cory Clark, PhD)

· A Call for Proposals (Speaker: Drew Sayer, PhD)

Proposal Instructions

The Adversarial Collaboration Proposal program provides a unique opportunity for two scientists with opposing view to prepare a research plan to advance the science on a controversial topic related to nutrition or obesity.   This program is supported by the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) and University of Alabama at Birmingham Nutrition Obesity Research Center.  More information, including eligibility and application details, is provided below.  

Questions and completed proposals should be directed to education@nutrition.org.  

Click here for a PDF version of the Adversarial Collaboration Proposal instructions.

Key Dates

Proposal Submission Deadline:  February 17, 2023 
Notification of Winning Research Team:  On or before March 31, 2023

Eligibility

A research team must consist of a minimum of two scientists with opposing views who will prepare a research plan to advance the science on a controversial topic related to nutrition or obesity. 

  • At least one member of the research team must be eligible to submit an R01 or similar grant.    
  • The winning team will coordinate a session at NUTRITION 2023 (July 22-25, Boston) to define the opposing views and their approach to tackling the topic. 
  • Following NUTRITION 2023, the winning team will meet at the University of Alabama at Birmingham with grant writing and topical experts to prepare an R01 or similar grant application. 
  • In addition to the planning grant, travel expenses to NUTRITION 2023 and the University of Alabama at Birmingham will be covered for two individuals from the winning team. 

Proposal 

Prospective adversarial collaborators are asked to prepare a 2-page proposal addressing the sections below. Proposals should be prepared using 11-point or greater font, single spacing, and at least 0.5-inch margins. Supporting references are not included in the 2-page limit and no budget information is required. Each collaborator should also include an NIH-style biosketch with their application.  

Proposal Sections 

Project Title: Provide a descriptive title of the proposal that is no longer than 200 characters including spaces and punctuation.  

Background and Public Health Significance: Briefly summarize the public health significance of the research question(s). 

Individual Position Statements: Each adversarial collaborator should provide a specific hypothesis and short description of their approach to addressing the research question(s) and the evidence supporting this approach. Contrast their approach with that of their adversarial collaborator. It is essential that the prospective collaborators have hypotheses that are truly opposing and mutually exclusive. Note that collaborating research teams do not need to agree with or approve of each other’s individual position statements.  

Commitment to Collaboration: The adversarial collaborators should prepare a jointly agreed upon plan to form the adversarial collaboration. This section should include statements vis-à-vis the development of a mutually agreed upon study design and plans for data sharing, analysis, interpretation, and reporting. 

Expectations 

The collaborative team must commit to: 

  • Organize a session at NUTRITION 2023 
  • Complete a grant application for an award with a minimum of $150,000 direct costs annually for at least 3 years 
  • Pending research funding: 
  • Preregister study and data analysis plans 
  • Publish protocol, results, raw data, and code 

Resulting publication(s) from the planning grant and any directly related research support must acknowledge support from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Nutrition Obesity Research Center and the American Society for Nutrition. 

Distribution and Use of $25,000 Planning Grant 

  • Payment schedule:  $12,500 to be paid after completion of NUTRITION 2023 session and remainder to be paid after the grant submission. 
  • The distribution of funds between the two research teams is to be determined by the winning team and communicated to ASN.  
  • The planning grant will be distributed by ASN. While the Society is aware that academic institutions have financial obligations for administering faculty awards, funds from this planning grant are not intended to cover F&A or indirect costs.  

Travel Funding 

  • Travel and NUTRITION 2023 registration will be covered for two team members (up to $2,000 per person). 
  • Travel to the University of Birmingham at Alabama (or other chosen site) will be covered for two team members (up to $1,600 per person). 

Learn more about Adversarial Collaboration:

One planning grant will be awarded to collaborate on a project that aims to resolve an important question to advance the field.