PCORI's Advisory Panels

Overview

Why is PCORI appointing advisory panels?
Per PCORI’s authorizing legislation, PCORI “may appoint permanent or ad hoc expert advisory panels as determined appropriate to assist in identifying research priorities and establishing the research project agenda.”

What is the role of a PCORI advisory panel?
Advisory panels provide recommendations to PCORI’s Board of Governors, Methodology Committee, and staff to help plan, develop, implement, improve, and refine our research agenda. While the panels do not hold decision-making authority, they are critical to PCORI’s ongoing effort to ensure that patients and stakeholders may provide substantive input into the refinement of the Institute’s research portfolio and other activities.

How many advisory panels are there?
The PCORI Board has approved five advisory panels to date.

Two correspond to our National Priorities and Research Agenda:

  • Advisory Panel on Clinical Effectiveness and Decision Science
  • Advisory Panel on Healthcare Delivery and Disparities Research

Two are cited in our authorizing legislation:

  • Advisory Panel on Clinical Trials
  • Advisory Panel on Rare Diseases

One focuses on patient interests:

  • Advisory Panel on Patient Engagement

Learn more about each panel, its role, charter, and composition.

How many people serve on a panel?
The charters of the two panels corresponding to the National Priorities and Research Agenda (see above) and the Advisory Panel on Patient Engagement authorize between 12 and 24 members. The charters for the Advisory Panel on Clinical Trials and for the Advisory Panel on Rare Disease authorize between 10 and 15 members. You can see the charters here.

What is the composition of each panel?
The exact composition of each advisory panel is established in each panel’s charter, which you can find here. Per PCORI’s authorizing legislation panels must include representatives of practicing and research clinicians, patients, and experts in scientific and health services research, health services delivery, and evidence-based medicine who have experience in the relevant topic and, as appropriate, experts in integrative health and primary prevention strategies. Appropriate experts from industry may be represented as well. PCORI posts panelists’ information on their respective panel’s web page.

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Conflicts of Interest

Are panelists required to disclose any potential conflict upon joining an advisory panel?
All panelists must abide by our Conflict of Interest Policy and disclose any potential conflict or conflicts on a PCORI Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form for Advisory Panel Members [ PDF | Word ]. Our executive director or his or her designee is responsible for identifying conflicts and determining what actions may be necessary to ensure that a panelist does not participate in matters where such a conflict would or could exist.

Does service on an advisory panel disqualify individuals from applying for PCORI funding?
In general, appointment to an advisory panel will not lead to ineligibility for funding because all meetings will be public; panelists will not have access to confidential, nonpublic information; and panelists will provide input to, but will not be responsible for, final decisions.

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Panelist Criteria

What are a panelist’s qualifications and duties?
Any interested individual may apply to serve on an advisory panel. Panelists are required to attend a training session and are expected to attend and participate in all meetings, read all materials distributed by PCORI prior to a panel meeting, abide by PCORI’s policies and procedures, and respect the opinions of other panel members.

Is previous training required to serve on an advisory panel?
Previous training is not required.  PCORI provides all necessary training for panelists.

How long do advisory panel members serve?
Advisory panel charters specify the lengths of terms and reappointments. Specific details are available in each panel’s charter.

What are the duties of an advisory panel chairperson?
Our Board of Governors will select a chairperson to facilitate panel activities (including setting meeting dates) in conjunction with PCORI’s designated staff leader. The chairperson may assemble subcommittees composed of members to examine special issues and facilitate activities related to the scope of work in a panel’s charter.

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Application and Nomination Process

What is the application process for PCORI’s advisory panels?
PCORI will announce open calls for applications through the PCORI website, our weekly email to subscribers, and other channels. Individuals can submit an application through our Advisory Panel application process page. Applicants can apply for membership on up to two panels, but they may serve on only one panel at a time. Applications may be submitted between the PCORI Annual Meeting, which generally takes place in the fall, and the last day in March for that fiscal year.

How can an applicant apply for membership on more than one panel?
An applicant can only apply to up to two panels, and should only fill out one application form if he or she is applying to two panels.

To apply to two advisory panels, an applicant simply selects those panels to which he or she is applying when prompted by the application. The applicant then ranks his or her order of preference.

An applicant need only write one personal statement, regardless of the number of panels he/she is applying for.

Are former panel members able to serve on future panels?
Yes. When a panelist’s term of service has ended, individuals are welcome to apply to serve on another advisory panel.

How can applicants request a copy of their application?
To request a PDF version of the completed application, simply email us [email protected].

Who should submit the application and which materials are accepted?
All applicants, nominees, or their designee, must complete their own application.  He or she is responsible for completing the application and gathering any third-party nominations and letters of endorsement and providing the materials to PCORI. All materials will be due on the same date.

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Selection and Notification

What criteria are used to select advisory panel members?
The review and selection process is based on a prospective panelist's experience, background, ability to contribute to the scope of work described in each panel’s charter, and commitment to advancing the mission and goals of PCORI.

PCORI thoroughly reviews each application received, and staff evaluates each candidate holistically.  PCORI strives for inclusiveness and diversity in all of its work. For each panel, selection criteria generally include:

  • Experience in comparative effectiveness research, patient/stakeholder engagement, measuring patient-centered outcomes, health services research, specific health systems improvement efforts, healthcare disparities, or research methodology
  • Overall experience and current position
  • Functional ties with a specific stakeholder group
  • Experience within stakeholder group
  • Degree to which their expertise and background could improve PCORI’s work.

You can find more information and full reports describing each selection cycle here.

Do I need to be a US citizen to be a panelist? Do I need to be a US resident?
No. Neither of those are requirements to be appointed to one PCORI advisory panels. However, PCORI reserves the right to not provide compensation for international travel. Such decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

If I was not selected to serve on an advisory panel, can I reapply in the future?
Yes, PCORI encourages past applicants to reapply. Regrettably, due to the high volume of applications received, PCORI cannot accommodate all candidates wishing to serve on an advisory panel. Please also consider other opportunities to be engaged with PCORI.

When are applicants notified of the status of their application?
PCORI staff will identify prospective panelists and a list of alternates to propose to our Board of Governors for its review and approval. Proposed panels are submitted to the Board during a public webinar/teleconference. Proposed panelists and alternates are notified before they are presented to the Board of Governors for approval. Other applicants will be notified after the Board of Governors meeting.

Why are alternate candidates presented to PCORI's Board of Governors?
Alternates are selected to be nominated in the event one or more of the proposed panelists declines PCORI's invitation to serve on one of our Advisory Panels.

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Meetings and Transparency

Where are advisory panel meetings held?
In-person meetings will be held in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. Other meetings will be held via webinar/teleconference.

What is the total time commitment required of advisory panel members?
We realize that panelists often have full-time jobs and other obligations, so we seek to minimize the time commitment and frequency of meetings.

Panelists must be willing and able to travel to Washington, DC, between two and four times a year to attend advisory panel meetings. Panelists also will need to read background materials and may need to complete online ranking exercises prior to these meetings.

Throughout the course of their service, selected individuals may also need to attend several remote-access meetings.

Who will determine the meeting schedule?
Meeting schedules will be determined by an advisory panel chairperson and the PCORI staff lead assigned to the advisory panel. Depending on each panel’s charter and scope of work, additional meetings will be held on an as-needed basis, either in person or via webinar/teleconference.

Will advisory panel meetings be open to the public?
Meetings will be conducted in an open forum, and records of the proceedings which may include minutes, photographs, and audio or video recordings will be kept in accordance with PCORI’s policies and procedures.  Meetings will have an agenda, which will be issued to panelists at least three business days prior to the meeting. Meetings of the full panel will be called by the chairperson with the agreement and consent of the designated PCORI staff lead, who shall develop and approve the agenda and be present at all meetings. Notice of all meetings and the agenda will be given to the public at least three business days before the meeting is set to occur.

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Compensation, Expenses, and Travel

Are advisory panel members compensated for their time?
Members who are not full-time federal employees are eligible for compensation. Compensation is set by PCORI’s executive director, based on the nature and amount of services to be provided, per PCORI’s compensation policy. All payments are made to individual panel members and not to employers, organizations, or third parties. Members may decline compensation at their discretion.

Are travel and lodging expenses reimbursed?
PCORI covers travel and other expenses incurred during the conduct of PCORI business only if the expenses are reasonable and comply with the Institute’s policies and procedures. PCORI will inform advisory panel members of our rules related to travel and lodging prior to their first meeting. Members may decline reimbursement of expenses at their discretion.

I have a question that was not addressed in this document. Where can I find more information on your advisory panels?
Please visit PCORI Advisory Panels for more information or e-mail us at [email protected]. We will make every effort to respond within three business days.

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Posted: January 28, 2013; Updated: September 9, 2020

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