Request for Information (RFI): Systematic Review Centers with Nutrition Expertise for DRI Development
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

August 16, 2021

Response Date:
October 15, 2021

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Issued by

Office of Nutrition Research (ONR)

Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD)


This request for information (RFI) seeks comments regarding the identification of systematic review or evidence-based practice review centers with the capacity and nutrition expertise to perform systematic reviews to support the development of Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs).


DRIs are a set of reference values that provide guidance on adequate and safe intakes of nutrients across the life span, by sex and during pregnancy and lactation in apparently healthy individuals. The DRIs serve multiple purposes including guidance for: a) health professionals for use in dietary counseling and for developing educational materials for consumers and patients, b) scientists in designing and interpreting research, c) users of national nutrition monitoring, and d) policy for a number of applications such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, nutrition labeling, military and federal nutrition programs. The default reference values for adequate intakes are Estimated Average Requirements (EARs) from which a Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is derived, “the average daily intake level sufficient to meet the nutrient requirement of nearly all healthy individuals” (97.5 percent) in a particular age and sex (life stage) group. These values are typically based on data relating to clinical indicators, nutrient balance studies, biochemical measures, or depletion-repletion studies. If the available data are inadequate to identify an EAR/RDA, an Adequate Intake (AI) reference value may be used in place of an EAR/RDA. An AI is based on fewer data (often observational in nature) and incorporates more judgement than is used in establishing an EAR. The reference value that represents an intake above which the risk of potential adverse effects due to excessive intakes may increase is called the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL). ULs are based on toxicological outcomes. Finally, the Chronic Disease Risk Reduction Intake (CDRR) characterizes nutrient intakes that are expected to reduce the risk of developing chronic disease, but only when sufficient strength of evidence exists to establish causal and intake-response relationships.

The Governments of the United States and Canada have jointly undertaken the development of the DRIs since the mid-1990s. Federal DRI committees from each country work collaboratively to identify DRI needs, prioritize nutrient reviews, and advance work to resolve any methodological issues that could impede new reviews. The DRIs are developed through an expert consensus process in which ad hoc committees convened by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine use scientific evidence, augmented by scientific judgment when dealing with uncertainties, to derive the reference values. The process of deriving nutrient reference values by an ad hoc expert Committee involves a series of decisions that need to be informed by available evidence. The Committee often used the same studies to answer different questions, although the relevance of different types of information from available studies may vary from question to question. Therefore, systematic reviews need to anticipate the full range of information needed as the Committee works through their series of questions.

The United States and Canadian governments have prioritized the review of the DRIs for the macronutrients. Given the complexity of the macronutrients and the expected number of systematic reviews that will be required, we are looking for institutions that could perform nutrition-related systematic reviews and meta-analyses to increase our capacity to complete reviews in a timely manner.

Information Requested

In anticipation of upcoming DRI reviews for Energy, protein, fat, carbohydrates and dietary fiber, input from researchers, academic institutions, professional societies, patient advocacy groups, pharmaceutical companies, and other stakeholders is sought on:

1) The identification (including self-identification), contact information, capacities and recent projects of institutes, centers within the U.S. or Canada with sufficient nutrition expertise to perform systematic reviews and meta-analyses in support of the development of DRIs.

2) Topics of interest that could be reviewed by the evidence-based practice center. For example, respondents should indicate their systematic review capabilities and the nutrition expertise related to appropriate intake assessment methods and health endpoints for estimating DRI values for:

  • Total protein and the essential amino acids
  • Fats, fatty acids, and essential fatty acids.
  • Carbohydrate, component saccharides and the question of essentiality for glucose and carbohydrate.
  • Dietary fiber, including soluble, insoluble and milk oligosaccharides.

3) Approaches the aforementioned systematic review center is using to fund their studies (e.g., direct contracts or cooperative agreements).


Responses will be accepted through October 15, 2021.

Responses must be submitted via email to, either within the body of the email or as an attachment (PDF or MS Word). No forms are required, or page limits have been instituted. Respondent comments do not have to address all of the above items, but in that case, it would be appreciated if the specific request was reiterated with the response.

This RFI is for planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation for applications or as an obligation on the part of the Government to provide support for any ideas identified in response to it. Please note that the United States Government will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for its use of that information. The NIH will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion and will not provide comments to any responder's submission. Responses will be compiled and shared internally with the Interagency Committee on Human Nutrition Research, and the Canadian-U.S. DRI Workgroup as appropriate. We look forward to your input and hope that you will share this document with your colleagues.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Name: Christopher Lynch, Ph.D
IC Name: OD/Office of Nutrition Research (ONR)
Telephone: 301-827-3988

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