Technology for Automated Capture of Diet, Nutrition, and Eating Behaviors in Context

October - November 2020 | Virtual Workshop

funded by the National Science Foundation


All are invited to take part in an NSF-funded workshop on Technology for Automated Capture of Diet, Nutrition, and Eating Behaviors in Context. The goal of this virtual workshop series is to inspire ideas that have the potential to be paradigm-shifting with regard to diet, nutrition, and eating behavior assessment in context via a convergence science approach. The first three workshops in this series will include provocative talks coupled with breakout sessions to expand on these presentations. Participants will also be able to view these talks and participate in discussions asynchronously (via Slack). Based on these activities, participants will be invited to submit proposals (individually or in teams) that propose new ideas and technologies for measuring diet, nutrition, and eating behaviors. We are hoping that you can take part in at least one of these 3 workshops live and then be part of the Slack workspace for the other times. During the final session, teams will be asked to present their ideas and, afterwards, notification of award will be made for two $15K seed projects, chosen from among the teams who participate.

The general structure is as follows:

  1. Workshop 1 Oct 15: Agenda setting workshop

  2. Workshop 2 Oct 22: Measuring diet: quantity and quality

  3. Workshop 3 Oct 29: Exploring horizons: opportunities for new research in diet and eating in context

**Team Proposals due Nov 16

  1. SHARE Nov 19: Teams present proposals. Winner announced. Invitation to participate in writing a paper based on the workshop.

All workshops are scheduled on Thursdays 2PM-5PM EST (11AM-2PM PST)

Workshop Details

Participants. We are inviting a broad audience of researchers and practitioners with diverse backgrounds in technical fields including sensing experts (e.g., Materials science/Chemistry/ Nanofabrication/Optics, to provide guidance and next steps related to skin sensing/flexible sensors/implantables), analytics experts (e.g., Image processing/Deep learning), and user experience design experts (e.g., Human-Computer Interaction, Ubiquitous Computing/Wearables) to hear about these different perspectives and research questions from areas like nutrition science, epidemiology, behavioral medicine, sociology, and anthropology. Researchers from out of the United States can support

Workshop topics. Each of the October workshops will include a combination of short presentations from invited speakers, a question & answer session, and a set of small group break-out sessions. The first of these workshops will serve to set an agenda for the program and will include a set of speakers whose research examines different aspects of diet and eating, including what and how people eat (capturing consumed foods and eating behaviors), and underlying reasons for individuals’ nutritional choices (capturing context). The next two workshops focus on developing a technical agenda to identify new opportunities to capture relevant aspects of diet and eating.

Workshop break-outs and other opportunities for collaboration. Building on discussions inspired across workshop presentations, participants will have synchronous and asynchronous opportunities to form highly cross-disciplinary teams that work together to facilitate paradigm-shifting approaches to assessment of diet, nutrition, and consumption behaviors in context--including option to submit proposals (see below). Participants can attend the live workshops and Q&A, or review archival video asynchronously. Participants can attend the live, breakout discussion periods following each workshop’s presentation and Q&A sessions, and a Slack workspace will host asynchronous discussions throughout this series.

Proposal submissions. Cross-disciplinary teams are invited to submit brief proposals inspired by the October workshops, proposing seed grant funding (awards of $10-15K) for further exploration of automated technologies for diet, nutrition, and eating behaviors. Proposals will be brief (1-2 pages) and accompanied by short presentations (to be presented during the final session, November 19). Successful projects will hit on these criteria: 1) highly innovative ideas that have the potential to be paradigm shifting in terms of automated capture of diet, nutrition, and eating behaviors in context; and 2) explicitly takes a convergence science approach.

Proposal selection. The organizing committee will use a two-stage sortition process for selection. This is based on known issues with peer review, which suggest that peer reviewers can rule out ideas that are clearly a poor match but are not as effective at choosing which ideas, particularly innovative ideas, are most likely to succeed. In step one, the committee will review proposals and rule out ones that do not meet our criteria. Of those that remain, 2-3 proposals will be randomly selected to receive the seed funds.

Review criteria.

1) Team is multi-disciplinary and takes a convergence science approach, meaning that the solution advanced is explicitly building on and linking insights from two (or more) disparate fields of study;

2) Proposal is seeking to advance fundamental knowledge or engineer novel technological solutions that are relevant to diet, nutrition, and eating behavior capture within context;

3) The proposal has objectives that are appropriately scoped to the requested budget;

4) The project has the potential to seed a paradigm shift in thinking and understanding around the capture of diet, nutrition, and eating behavior in context.


Lena Mamykina, PhD, Columbia University

Eric Hekler, PhD, University of California, San Diego

Nabil Alshurafa, PhD, Northwestern University

Marissa Burgermaster, PhD, University of Texas in Austin

Jennifer Taylor, PhD, University of California, San Diego