Research Initiative Highlights

PCORI seeks to fund pragmatic clinical trials that compare surgical and nonsurgical options for management of nonspecific chronic low back pain. The research is expected to examine treatment options, as well as systems-level interventions or those aimed at eliminating health or healthcare disparities.

Proposed studies must address clinical and healthcare delivery choices faced by patients, their caregivers, clinicians, or delivery systems. Proposed studies must compare two or more active interventions. They must involve patient populations that represent the U.S. population; be large enough to provide precise estimates of hypothesized effectiveness differences; and be large enough to support evaluation of potential differences in treatment effectiveness in patient subgroups.

For this solicitation, applicants should document that they have consulted with patients and other stakeholders to identify the important decisional dilemmas and evidence needs that will drive development of the research questions or reference previously documented decisional dilemmas. Although PCORI does not require that relevant national patient organizations, professional organizations, and payer or purchaser organizations be formally included as partners and active participants prior to contract award, successful applicants may be required to develop such formal arrangements. PCORI may require a project Study Advisory Committee (SAC) that is comprised of national or regional organizations that represent, at a minimum, patients and families with lived experience, relevant clinicians, payers, and health plans. Scientific and methodological experts may also be recommended for this oversight role. The SAC advises and assists the research team with refining the study questions, outcomes, and protocol. PCORI expects applications to follow the randomized controlled trial (RCT) study design specified for the research question. Note that this funding program does not support applications to conduct cost-effectiveness analysis, systematic reviews, or development and evaluation of shared decision making or decision-support tools.

The proposed studies must address the priority research question identified in the main body of the PFA.

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Key Dates

Online System Opens
April 4, 2016, 12:00 AM
Letter of Intent Deadline
May 4, 2016, 12:00 AM

Funds and Project Period

Funds Available Up To

$22 million

Total Direct Costs

$15 million

Maximum Project Period

5 years


Award Types