As COVID-19 continues to present unique healthcare challenges to our nation, PCORI in turn continues to consider how we can best contribute to ongoing efforts to combat it hand in hand with government, industry, and other funders.

As you read in April, PCORI launched the HERO Registry and study to answer questions about the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare workers' lives. We also posted a funding opportunity to explore adding COVID-19-related aims to existing research projects, launched an Engagement Awards special cycle, and have held a series of webinars highlighting the demands the virus is placing on our hospitals and healthcare systems.

And now we are issuing a new COVID-19 funding announcement of up to $30 million with an accelerated timeline to support innovative, high-impact studies that fit clearly within our core mission of patient-engaged and patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research. The announcement seeks to strengthen the understanding of different approaches to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on individuals, communities, healthcare providers, and healthcare systems, and to provide evidence to inform clinical and public health responses, decision making, and planning. Because of the critical need that the pandemic presents, we encourage applicants to provide actionable findings in no longer than 12 months.

Moving Quickly to Respond to the Health Emergency

Recognizing the critical urgency of the current pandemic, PCORI is waiving its usual Letter of Intent process for proposals. Full applications are due on May 26—three weeks from today—so that these urgent projects can get off the ground quickly. This funding announcement has three targeted priority areas.

  • Adaptations to healthcare delivery. What has been the impact on patient-centered outcomes of alternative healthcare delivery models—such as telehealth—that are being implemented in response to COVID-19? What has been learned about barriers and facilitators to their effective implementation?
  • Impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations. What are effective clinical pathways to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable and higher risk patients? What are effective system- or organizational-level responses to prevent or mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in low-income and low-resource settings that serve vulnerable populations?
  • Impact of COVID-19 on healthcare workforce well-being, management, and training. What policies, practices, or programs are effective in helping health systems quickly shift human resources, redeploy healthcare workers, and train current and new healthcare workers to fill certain healthcare delivery needs? What are effective strategies to protect the physical and/or mental well-being of the healthcare workforce?

PCORI will fund small studies of up to $2.5 million and large studies of up to $5 million under this Targeted PFA. Under our accelerated timeline, we will announce awards in July.

About These PCORI Funding Announcements

COVID-19 Targeted PFA
Letter of Intent Deadline: None — Application Deadline: May 26

Observational Analyses of Second-Line Pharmacological Agents in Type 2 Diabetes
Letter of Intent Deadline: June 2 — Application Deadline: September 1

Limited Competition PFA: Conducting Rare Disease Research using PCORnet®
Letter of Intent Deadline: June 2 — Application Deadline: September 1

Implementation of Effective Shared Decision Making Approaches in Practice Settings
Letter of Intent Deadline: June 18 — Application Deadline: August 31

Limited Competition PFA: Implementation of PCORI-Funded Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Results
Letter of Intent Deadline: June 18 — Application Deadline: August 31

PFAs on Diabetes, Rare Diseases Also Launched

In addition to the COVID-19 Targeted PCORI Funding Announcement (PFA), we are accepting applications today for two funding opportunities under our more traditional timeline: Observational Analyses of Second-Line Pharmacological Agents in Type 2 Diabetes and Conducting Rare Disease Research using PCORnet®. Both PFAs have a Letter of Intent deadline of June 2; applicants who are invited to submit a full proposal will then have until September 1.

Because of the emergence of a new class of medications—such as SGLT2 inhibitors and GLP-1 receptor agonists—to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), PCORI looks to fund studies that compare the effectiveness of these newer agents versus older second-line pharmacological agents in T2DM among individuals at moderate cardiovascular risk.

While a large-scale randomized controlled trial on this topic would be desirable, it would be time- and resource-intensive. We believe that methodologically robust observational studies that emulate a randomized trial—while not a substitute for clinical trials—have the potential to provide evidence to inform clinical decision making over the short term. We are offering up to $20 million in funding under this PFA, with awards of up to $4 million each in direct costs.

The rare disease PFA is limited to current awardees of PCORnet®, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network. The funding opportunity aims to answer important research questions about the care of patients with rare diseases, but it also looks to enhance the capabilities for multisite rare disease research by creating partnerships, methods, tools, and linkages that will facilitate future comparative effectiveness studies for the rare disease community. PCORnet is uniquely positioned to facilitate the formation of these relationships. We are offering up to $25 million in funding under this PFA, with awards of up to $3.5 million each in direct costs.

Regular Funding Cycles Continue

In addition to these three PFAs, which are in response to unique health challenges facing the nation, our regular work continues. Today we began accepting applications for the implementation of shared decision making approaches and for projects that work to implement PCORI-funded research results into clinical practice under their respective regular funding cycles.

PCORI will continue to balance meeting the needs of the current health pandemic with continuing its core work to fund projects that give patients and those who care for them information to make better-informed healthcare choices. Continue to check back for further developments.

What's Happening at PCORI?

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute sends weekly emails about opportunities to apply for funding, newly funded research studies and engagement projects, results of our funded research, webinars, and other new information posted on our site.

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