Under authority of the United States Department of Agriculture, the Mushroom Council (Council) and its funding partners conduct research to discover new and/or add validity to known health and nutrition benefits of eating mushrooms. Nutrition research provides the scientific support for practical/actionable consumer public relations and marketing messages that result in increased mushroom consumption.
Research focuses primarily on the impact of Agaricus bisporus (whites, crimini, portabella) mushrooms, and/or culinary specialty mushrooms such as maitake, shiitake, oyster and enoki. For additional information on mushroom research see: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/; http://mushroominfo.com/nutrition/research.html, http://www.powerofmushrooms.com.au/health-nutrition/health-nutrition/ and http://mushroomsandhealth.com. See also presentations from the September 2013 Mushrooms and Health Summit http://mushroomhealthsummit.com/.
The Council invites short, non-binding Letters of Interest (LOI) to evaluate the proposed project’s relevance to the industry’s strategic direction. The LOI is a succinct 1-page statement in non-technical language that describes what the research proposes to do; why it is important to industry (relevance); and approximate cost and timeline.
Pre-clinical and clinical studies to investigate the health-promoting, disease-reducing properties of mushrooms and their specific compounds (e.g. ergothioneine); food intake/survey information relating mushrooms and health; and behavior-based studies to increase mushroom consumption are eligible for consideration. Areas of interest include but are not limited to the metabolic syndrome, cognitive health, clinical trials investigating immune enhancement, and beneficial changes in gut microflora.
The 1-page Letter of Interest must include:
• Brief/pertinent literature statement to establish current relevance of the study
• Specific objectives and methods to meet the research goal and estimated timeline. The study must be completed within 2 years.
• Total budget by broad category such as personnel, supplies/materials. It is the policy of the Council not to pay Administrative overhead or management costs. In general, pre-clinical, food intake/survey and behavior-based studies may not exceed $150,000; clinical studies may not exceed $250,000 without significant rationale provided by the principal investigator.
• Amount of mushrooms needed for the study
• Potential benefits to the mushroom industry
• Experience of the personnel/institution responsible for the research
Mushroom Council staff, consultants, members of the Council’s International Mushroom Research Advisory Panel will review and evaluate the LOIs on clearly stated objectives and methods, cost-effectiveness, timeliness and impact potential. Applicants will be notified only if a full proposal is invited to be submitted. If selected, funding would be available beginning July 2015.
Return Letters of Interest in a Word file via e-mail by March 31, 2014 to:
Mary Jo Feeney, MS, RD, FADA
Nutrition Research Coordinator, Mushroom Council