Overview

In order to select high-quality patient-centered projects, PCORI’s Engagement and Contract Management and Administration teams, and internal and external subject matter experts (as necessary) will review all Letters of Intent (LOI) and full proposals. In addition:

  • PCORI will evaluate all applications based on the review criteria: Program Fit; Project Plan and Timeline (including reasonableness of project approach, milestones, deliverables, outcomes, and metrics); Qualifications of the Project Lead, Personnel, and Organizational Capabilities; Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan and Collaborators; Past Performance; and the Budget/Cost Proposal.
  • PCORI will analyze the Budget and Budget Justification proposal attachments in order to determine the feasibility of the proposed costs and associated justifications.
  • PCORI will determine the application’s acceptability by assessing the project’s ability to meet the engagement goals and objectives.
  • Conflicts of interest will be assessed and mitigated during the review of the Letter of Intent (LOI) and the full proposal.

See the PCORI funding opportunities webpage for open Engagement Awards funding opportunities and submission instructions.

Responsiveness Review

PCORI conducts rigorous review of the LOI and proposals it receives. Note that PCORI may withdraw LOIs/proposals from the review process for administrative or programmatic reasons (e.g., nonresponsiveness). An LOI/proposal may be administratively withdrawn if it is incomplete, submitted past the stated due date and time, or does not meet the formatting criteria outlined in the Engagement Award Submission Instructions, in the PCORI templates, and in PCORI Online. An LOI/proposal may be withdrawn for programmatic non-responsiveness if it does not address the specifications described in the PFA, includes a formal cost-effective analysis of alternative approaches to providing care, or otherwise does not meet PCORI programmatic requirements.

Review Timeline

The review timeline is outlined below for each Engagement Award funding opportunity.

Engagement Award: Capacity Building, Dissemination Initiative, and Stakeholder Convening Support

Two-Stage Application Process – LOI & Full Proposal

  • LOIs must be submitted by the LOI deadline specified in the PCORI funding announcement.
  • LOIs will be reviewed within 60 calendar days of the submission deadline.
  • Full proposals are by invitation only, after review and approval of the LOI.
  • Full proposals, submitted upon invitation only, are due by the submission deadline specified in the PCORI funding announcement and indicated in the formal invitation to submit a full proposal.
  • No fewer than three PCORI staff members will review the full proposal to provide a recommendation to award or decline.
  • PCORI may request additional information from the applicant after the initial review of the full proposal.
  • PCORI aims to provide a final programmatic approval decision on the full proposal, via email, within 90 calendar days of the submission deadline.
  • If the full proposal is programmatically approved, a PCORI staff member will coordinate arrangements to begin budgetary review and contracting negotiations. Typically contract negotiations take about six-to-eight weeks.

Review Criteria

Letters of Intent (LOI) will be reviewed using the criteria below:

Criterion

Description

Program Fit

How well does the application demonstrate program fit or how well does the application proffer an innovative idea that supports the organization’s mission?

Proposed Project Plan

How reasonable is the applicant’s project plan? Are there any concerns that the applicant has not provided a reasonable set of activities to achieve the objectives and outcomes in the project plan?

Project Lead Previous Experience and Organizational Capabilities

Do the qualifications of the project lead align with the scope of the project?  Does the applicant demonstrate sufficient background/organizational capabilities for related projects that are aligned with an emphasis on patient-centered outcomes research/comparative clinical effectiveness research (PCOR/CER)?

Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan

Is there an adequate plan described for engaging patients and other stakeholders in the conduct of the proposed project?  Are the proposed collaborators meaningful and appropriate based on aligning the interest, expertise, and scope of work of patients and other stakeholders involved in the project? Are there any concerns about the ability of the collaborators to work together?

Budget/Cost Proposal

How well does the applicant’s budget proposal demonstrate reasonable cost designations?


Full proposals will be evaluated using similar criteria, and will receive a weighted score based on each criterion: 

Criterion

Description

Weight

Program Fit

How well does the application demonstrate program fit or how well does the application proffer an innovative idea that supports the organization’s mission?

25%

Project Plan and Timeline

How reasonable is the application's project plan and timeline? Are there any concerns that the applicant has not provided a reasonable set of activities to achieve the objectives and outcomes in the project plan? Has the applicant provided a reasonable amount of time or should they consider lessening the amount of time dedicated to some of the activities in the project plans?

20%

Qualifications of the Project Lead, Personnel, and Organizational Capabilities 

Do the qualifications of the project lead align with the scope of the project? Are there adequate and qualified personnel to conduct the project? Is there an adequate amount of human resources involved? Does the applicant demonstrate sufficient organizational capabilities for projects with an emphasis on patient-centered outcomes research/comparative clinical effectiveness research (PCOR/CER)?  

20%

Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan and Collaborators

Is there adequate engagement of patients and other stakeholders in the design and conduct of the proposed project? Are collaborations meaningful and appropriate based on aligning the interest, expertise and scope of work of each member of the team and the collaborators involved? Are there any concerns about the collaborators’ ability to work together?

15%

Past Performance

Has the application team demonstrated sufficient past performance for related projects?

10%

Budget/Cost Proposal

How well does the application’s budget/cost proposal demonstrate reasonable cost designations?

10%

Total:

 

100%

Categories of Nonresponsiveness

Applications will be considered nonresponsive for an Engagement Award if they propose:

  • Projects or meetings without a clear focus on patient-centered outcomes research/comparative clinical effectiveness research (PCOR/CER)
  • Projects designed to support engagement in research that do not specifically involve patient-centered outcomes research/comparative clinical effectiveness research (PCOR/CER)
  • Projects solely intended to increase patient engagement in healthcare or healthcare systems rather than healthcare research
  • Projects to design or test healthcare interventions
  • Activities that involve the use of a drug or medical device
  • Development of clinical practice guidelines, care protocols, or decision support tools
  • Development of coverage, payment, or policy recommendations or guidelines
  • Projects related to quality measures, quality improvement, or engagement around quality measures
  • Projects to recruit and enroll patients for clinical trials
  • Projects that only involve patients as subjects (individuals enrolled into a study as participants)
  • Research studies including randomized controlled trials, observational studies, and pragmatic clinical studies
  • Development or maintenance of a registry, or recruitment to participate in a registry
  • Projects designed solely to validate tools or instruments not created through a PCORI-funded project
  • Writing research proposals or completing grant applications, grantmaking
  • Projects focused solely on social determinants of health, with no focus on patient-centered outcomes research/comparative clinical effectiveness research (PCOR/CER)
  • Planning for dissemination or dissemination initiatives without including PCORI-funded research or PCORI-funded related research products
  • Implementation of PCORI findings in a clinical practice setting (PCORI funds dedicated implementation efforts through the Limited PCORI Funding Announcement: Implementation of PCORI-Funded Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Results.)
  • Projects or meetings without a clear focus on patient-centered outcomes research/comparative clinical effectiveness research (PCOR/CER)
  • Engaging in any activities that are for the purpose of directly or indirectly influencing any federal, state, or local laws, regulations, judicial decisions, or the like including, preparation or planning activities, research, and other background work related to or in contemplation of lobbying activities
  • Organization or establishment of an independent corporation (nonprofit or for-profit), limited liability company, partnership, or other legal entity.

Scoring and Evaluation Scale

LOIs and full proposals are evaluated using the criteria listed above, and each criterion is scored using the four-point scale described below. Scores from each reviewer are collected and weighted, and the scores from all reviewers are averaged. Reviewers are also asked to provide comments on the proposals’ strengths and weaknesses. 

Score

Descriptor

Characteristics

4

Outstanding

The application has demonstrated that there is a high probability of success.

3

Good

The application has demonstrated that there is a good probability of success.

2

Fair

The application has demonstrated that there is a fair probability of success.

1

Poor

The application has demonstrated that there is a poor probability of success.


Posted: February 2014; Updated: January 19, 2022

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