The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Pipeline to Proposal Award Initiative supports the development of health-related research ideas and proposals designed by partnerships of patients, caregivers, and other key stakeholders. PCORI will award up to $5.5 million during FY2016 as part of this initiative, also called Pipeline Awards. Pipeline Awards are intended for those individuals or groups that are not usual applicants for developing research questions, particularly individuals and groups that have important ideas but don’t have other opportunities to develop research ideas. Any individual or group that meets the eligibility requirements and focused on health-related topics that could become research ideas and align with the goals of the Pipeline Awards program is welcome to apply.
Funding will support projects aimed at facilitating research proposal submissions, research results dissemination, and expanding the number of patients, stakeholders, and researchers able and ready to participate in patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR). Three funding tiers are awarded separately. Each tier has its own funding level and application requirements. No research is funded by the Pipeline to Proposal Awards Initiative; the program funds only the development of research ideas and proposals designed by partnerships of patients, caregivers, and other key stakeholders.
What makes these awards unique is that they are available to individual patients, stakeholders, and researchers and unofficial groups of patients, stakeholders, and researchers who are not "PCOR ready" for research funding. These awards are for community engagement and capacity building at the local, state, and regional level.
PCORI’s goal is to fund the development of research projects that answer a series of key questions from the patient perspective:
- What should I expect will happen to me?
- What are my options and what are the potential benefits and harms of those options?
- What can I do to improve the outcomes that are most important to me?
- How can clinicians and the care delivery systems they work in help me make the best decisions about my health and health care?
The purpose of the Pipeline to Proposal initiative is to cultivate the development of proposals with sound scientific rigor and robust patient engagement. PCORI expects the Pipeline to Proposal project will help individuals form new collaborations that can produce meaningful research proposals. The emphasis in all three funding tiers is to actively integrate patients, caregivers, clinicians, and other healthcare stakeholders as members of the patient-centered outcomes research/comparative effectiveness research (PCOR/CER) process. Applicants can be an individual or group of patients, stakeholders, or researchers focused on a particular health issue that can lead to a patient-centered comparative effectiveness research (CER) project. For Tiers I and II, the specific CER* question does not need to be specified at the point of applying.
Tier I – Pre-Engagement/Community Projects: Up to $15,000 for up to Nine-Month Project Term
- Tier I awards fund the building of a partnership and expansion of skills necessary to develop a patient-centered comparative effectiveness research (CER) project. The Tier I phase will generate a list of comparative effectiveness research (CER) ideas that address the health issue of interest to those in the partnership.
- Individuals or groups can receive this funding—no university, researcher, or incorporated entity is required in order to apply.
- PCORI encourages those who are not usual candidates for research funding to apply for Tier I. This program is intended to support those individuals and groups with critically important ideas who may not have other opportunities for funding. In order to qualify for Tier I funding, you must have demonstrated success in a past community-building project. The demonstrated success doesn’t have to have been health-related. You need to explain how you engaged the community and formed partnerships to achieve your goal.
- Tier I awards are not research awards; the purpose of this funding is to build capacity and engage individual patients, stakeholders, researchers, and others who care about a particular health topic that can lead to a CER question—even if that question cannot yet be articulated.
- Building relationships and forming collaborative partnerships among patients, caregivers, researchers, and other stakeholders are critical components for Tier I awardees.
Tier II – Partnership and Infrastructure Development Projects: Up to $25,000 for up to 12-Month Term
- Tier II awards are not research awards.
- Tier II awards are only available for those who successfully participate in and complete a Tier I award. The purpose of funding for Tier II awards is to help Tier I partnerships mature, with the goal of refining the list of CER ideas to a single research question. The funds are to be used to strengthen the partnerships and further develop the infrastructure and governance developed during Tier I.
Tier III – Proposal Development Projects
The goal of a Tier III awards is scientifically rigorous research proposals with strong engagement plans. During their project period, Tier III awardees will be required to submit an LOI to a PCORI Funding Announcement.
By the completion of Tier III, awardees should have developed sound research models that integrate patients and stakeholders throughout the research process. It is our expectation that, upon successful completion of Tier III, the research team established will be able to apply for competitive traditional funding sources, such as a PCORI PFA or other non-PCORI patient-centered outcomes research. The ultimate output from Tier III is a well-vetted research proposal with a strong engagement component.
Progressive Tier III: Up to $50,000 for up to a 12-Month Term
- Progressive Tier III awards are not research awards.
- Progressive Tier III awards are only available for those who successfully participate in and complete Tiers I & II.
- Tier III awards support the development of a health-related CER research question into a patient-centered research proposal. This funding is designed to advance research partnerships (those that are “almost there”) that could benefit from working with partners to draft a strong patient engagement plan and a rigorous science proposal.
Independent Tier III: Up to $50,000 for up to a 9-Month Term
- Independent Tier III awards are not research awards.
- Independent Tier III awards are targeted at those applicants who are not appropriate for the standard progression through established the pipeline. Instead, because they have an already identified their partners and have a CER research question, they can enter the “pipeline” farther along the continuum.
- Independent Tier III awards will go to well-established partnerships, including at least one patient and one researcher. The researcher should have a track record of successful research and have already identified a research question.
- Independent Tier III awards will give partnerships, which are “almost there,” the opportunity to receive training, as needed, on patient engagement and research methodology.
- Teams that have previously submitted proposals for PCORI research funding and received recommendations to strengthen their engagement plans are encouraged to apply for an Independent Tier III award.
The awards are managed regionally through Pipeline Award Program Offices (PAPOs) that have been selected for the West, Midwest, South, and East Regions, as well as a National Office to assist with projects that extend beyond a single region. The PAPOs support and manage all tiers of the PCORI Pipeline to Proposal Initiative across the country. They serve as portfolio managers, supporters of programmatic work, and fiscal agents (if needed) in support of Pipeline awardees. The PAPOs will provide training—which is created by PCORI—and technical assistance to the awardees and will have regular communication with the awardees.
At the Tier I Pipeline Award level, the PAPOs will also serve as “fiscal agents,” if needed, and will help to manage the funding coming to the award recipient, thus enabling funding for many individuals and groups that in the past were not eligible for funding. We expect that many of the individuals or groups that receive Tier I Pipeline Awards will be just that—individual people or small groups of people that are not officially organized as a nonprofit or a corporation—so they will need a fiscal agent to help manage the award itself.
Awardees can expect that the PAPOs will assist in developing community, creating infrastructure and strategic plans, and employing successful community capacity-building models to execute these awards, in accordance with the guidelines, expectations, and criteria for success set forth by PCORI. The PAPOs work collaboratively across regions with other PAPOs to solve problems as the projects progress, and expand interest/involvement in PCOR across the nation.
*CER refers to comparative effectiveness research, which is research that compares two or more possibilities for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment options.
Posted: June 17, 2013; Updated: May 26, 2016