TEPHINET Small Grants Program

Header photo: Izuchukwu Frank Obi's team working on his mini-grant project, "Occurrence of external structural birth defects among infants delivered in selected public and private healthcare facilities in Enugu metropolis, Nigeria, 2007-2016"

Program Overview

As a learning opportunity offered by TEPHINET and supported by various funders, the Small Grants Program (also known as the Mini-Grant Program) focuses on building the capacity of current trainees and graduates of Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETPs) around the world through mentored non-research projects in epidemiology.

Field project completion is a key element of FETP training. By providing funding and mentorship, the Small Grants Program encourages and assists current FETP trainees in developing and executing projects that allow them to demonstrate their epidemiology skills while addressing health priorities of their countries.

Grantees are the principal investigators for their projects, which usually last from six months to one year and provide grantees with the opportunity to benefit from the technical expertise of subject matter experts (SMEs) at partner institutions who serve as additional mentors to complement local, in-country mentorship. Mentors advise and guide the grantees for the duration of project implementation.

In 2016, a TEPHINET survey of 95 CDC-funded grantees (83 percent response rate) found that 59 percent of their projects had led to some kind of corrective action or systemic improvement such as changes in policy, surveillance methods, or other positive outcomes in their countries. Of 79 grantees whose projects focused on non-communicable diseases, 57 (72 percent) led to changes in public health practice or policy, 29 (37 percent) were presented at conferences, and three (four percent) were published in the peer-reviewed literature.


TEPHINET undertakes project management for the Small Grants Program and manages the grant life cycle, including: the announcement of the call for letters of intent (LOIs), review of these LOIs by technical reviewers, shortlisting of selected LOIs for full proposal submission, review of the full proposals by technical reviewers, facilitation of non-research determination in case of federal funds, selection of final grantees, and issuance and management of grant award contracts to successful grantees.

Depending upon funding availability, TEPHINET also may facilitate travel support to past and present grantees for presenting their work at international scientific conferences.

Project Topics

Grants have been awarded in the following topic areas:

  • Air pollution
  • Biosafety and biosecurity
  • Birth defects
  • Cancer
  • Emergency response
  • Emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases
  • Environmental health
  • Heart disease and stroke prevention
  • Injury
  • Maternal and perinatal health
  • Nutrition
  • Physical activity and obesity
  • Special pathogens (leptospirosis and melioidosis)
  • Timeliness of outbreak detection
  • Tobacco
  • Zika

Example Projects

To date, TEPHINET has awarded nearly 200 small grants. Examples of previously awarded projects include:

  • “Verifying the accuracy of still birth data in Ridge Regional Hospital, Accra, Ghana, 2017” (Ernest Konadu Asiedu)
  • “Monitoring the trends of smoking and effects of second hand smoke on respiratory health of children in slums and nomadic settlements of Islamabad, Pakistan” (Faiza Bashir)
  • “Evaluation of the Maternal Death Surveillance and Response (MDSR) system in Tigray region, northern Ethiopia” (Mikiyas Mekonnen)
  • “Impact of the universal helmet law on head injuries of motorcycle accidents in Ho Chi Minh City” (Ninh Ha)
  • “Melioidosis epidemiological surveillance system in the state of Ceará, Brazil” (Tatiana Cisne Souza)
  • “Strengthening the death statistics management system in Haiti” (Daniella Azor)
  • “Geographic distribution of perinatal mortality due to congenital malformations in Colombia, 1999-2008: An analysis of vital statistics data” (Sandra Misnaza)
  • “Fighting Zika at the household level: Strengthening environmental and entomological surveillance using a GIS-based system” (Laura-Lee Boodram)
  • “Evaluation of the cervical cancer screening program in Thailand” (Chalo Sansilapin)
  • “Establishing a chronic kidney disease surveillance system in Cuttack District, Odisha, India” (Priyakanta Nayak)

Past and Current Program Funders

  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • CDC Foundation
  • National Cancer Institute
  • Skoll Global Threats Fund
  • U.S. Department of State
  • Abbott

Are you or your institution interested in funding small grants? Please contact the Small Grants Program at sgp@tephinet.org.

Prospective Applicants

Are you interested in applying for a small grant? Check this page for open calls for applications.

Grantee Spotlights

Article: Small Change Can Make a Big Difference (October 16, 2020) - This article highlights the stories of a few small grant recipients who completed investigations on preventing premature deaths by increasing awareness, diagnosis, and treatment of hypertension. The spotlighted grantees include Christabel Ayepah of Ghana, Jackline Nanono of Uganda, and Nadia Noreen of Pakistan.