Health Games Research is an $8.25 million national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) that supports outstanding research to enhance the quality and impact of interactive games used to improve health.

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The goal of the program is to advance the innovation, design, and effectiveness of health games and game technologies so that they help people improve their health-related behaviors and, as a result, achieve significantly better health outcomes. The program is directed by Debra Lieberman, Ph.D., communication researcher in the Institute for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Program funding comes from RWJF’s Pioneer Portfolio, which supports innovative ideas and projects that may lead to breakthroughs in the future of health and health care.
Health Games Research focuses on interactive games that are delivered or supported by digital technology.

Game platforms and formats of interest to the program range from traditional video games on game consoles, handheld game players, arcade machines, computers, Web sites and multiplayer online worlds, to new kinds of games delivered, for example, by mobile networked computing, exertion interfaces (dance pads, cameras pointed at players, motion-detecting remote controllers), robots, interactive television, virtual environments, electronic toys, context-sensitive programs (using sensors, physiological and health monitors, global positioning systems), or other emerging technologies that are becoming more affordable and accessible.

Health Games Research investigates how people respond to interactive games, in order to develop highly effective and beneficial ways to design and use games to improve health.
In addition to funding research and providing technical support to grantees, to build this emerging field the Health Games Research program also contributes to national conferences and professional meetings, widely disseminates research findings and resources related to health games, develops research tools, and conducts and publishes research.

It also shares information and collaborates with health care and health promotion professionals, game publishers, technology firms, government agencies, educators, researchers, community leaders and other decision-makers who create, buy, recommend or fund the development of health games.

The Health Games Research program will offer two rounds of funding, with awards made in 2008 and 2009, to support research on games that (1) increase physical activity and/or (2) games that improve self-care.

The goal is to develop theoretically grounded, evidence-based principles for designing and implementing health games successfully, keeping in mind the unique needs of specific populations of end users.

The application deadline for the second round of funding is Wednesday, April 8, 2009 at 3:00 p.m. ET. In fairness to other applicants, the program will not accept late applications. Optional Web conference calls will be held to provide information and to answer questions for potential applicants. The first grant period will start September 1, 2009 and grants may last up to two years.

Key Dates and Deadlines:
• February 11, 2009 (3:00 p.m. ET) and February 19, 2009 (4:00 p.m. ET)—Applicant Web conference calls (optional). To register, please click on the registration link found in the right-hand column.• April 8, 2009 (3:00 p.m. ET)—Deadline for receipt of proposals. • September 1, 2009—Grant start date.• October 15-16, 2009—Program annual meeting for grantees only, Portland, Oregon.

All proposals must be submitted through the RWJF Grantmaking Online system. (See tab link above.) All applicants should log in to the system and familiarize themselves with online submission requirements well before the final submission deadline. If you have previously applied for funding using any of RWJF’s Grantmaking Online sites, you must register with a new ID and password for this grant opportunity.

Frequently Asked Questions are posted (See tab link above.) – and will be periodically updated. Please check for the updates. If you have a question, please e-mail your inquiry to healthgamesresearch@rwjf.org and it will be forwarded to the most appropriate staff member. We plan to answer queries on the same day when possible, or by the next business day. In your e-mail, please include your name and phone number in case we need to call you.

Visit www.rwjf.org to subscribe to E-mail Services offered by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. RWJF issues content alerts related to news releases, journal articles, research reports or other publications in the topic(s) of your choice. Funding alerts are distributed when RWJF releases new calls for applications or proposals related to our program areas. Additionally, weekly news digests are available on a variety of topic areas.