About Us

PCORI’s process for evaluating research funding applications is a unique aspect of our commitment to producing evidence that helps patients, caregivers, clinicians, and other healthcare stakeholders make better-informed decisions.

From our earliest days, we sought to include patients and other stakeholders, along with scientists, in our merit review process, inviting reviewers to serve on panels by aligning their experience and expertise with the topics of the applications they assess. The goal has been to ensure that the projects we fund not only produce high-quality research but also address issues of importance and value to the healthcare community.

As we have gained experience with this process, and as our funding strategy evolves, we continue to adjust how we meet our continuing need for a diverse set of reviewers. So, we’re pleased to update you on the latest development in our review process.

Standing Panels

With our August 2013 cycle of PCORI Funding Announcement (PFAs), we began to move toward using standing panels to evaluate applications. We identified reviewers willing to assess applications during at least three cycles over two years, rather than for a single cycle. The goal was to make the process more satisfying for reviewers as they gained experience and confidence—and more efficient for us.

Now we find that we’re becoming less dependent on the standing panels for a couple of reasons. First, we’re delighted that the vast majority of our reviewers, whether on standing panels or joining us on an ad hoc basis, have had such a positive experience that they’ve been willing to return for additional cycles. We’re also finding that our need for standing panels is ebbing as our approach to research funding evolves to focus more on larger investments in targeted funding announcements and calls for large, pragmatic studies addressing high-impact topics selected through our multi-stakeholder research prioritization process.

As a result, we are phasing out the designation of standing panels. In doing so, we are fully confident that we will be able to maintain the pool of returning, experienced reviewers needed to ensure that our process is rigorous, consistent, and fair to applicants, as well as fulfilling for the reviewers.

Appreciation for Our Reviewers

We sincerely thank those who have served on our standing panels and hope they will continue to volunteer as reviewers. And we want to acknowledge the important contributions of all our experienced reviewers in helping us to identify the best applications to consider for funding. In recognition of their commitment to our mission, beginning with the Spring 2015 cycle, we will increase the compensation of all returning reviewers from $50 to $75 per application reviewed. (Previously, standing panelist had received the higher amount, as well as a bonus for completing the three required cycles.)

We believe this new policy will reduce the burden on our experienced reviewers while acknowledging their important contributions. We look forward to hearing what you think.

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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