• For Research Awardees: Click here to access the Research Enhancement Funding Opportunity.
  • For D&I Awardees: Click here to access the D&I Enhancement Funding Opportunity.


Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2, otherwise known as COVID-19, is a novel respiratory illness that causes complications that can compromise lung function and lead to severe illness or death. COVID-19 imposes significant burdens for patients and their families and has led to acute disruptions in the US healthcare system due to its high incidence, low testing rates, challenging management options, and unknown long-term health implications. As of April 10, 2020, there were more than 427,000 confirmed cases and 14,696 deaths in the United Statesi and as many as 1.6 million cases worldwideii. Emerging reports of racial and ethnic disparities in the US death tolliii increase the complexity in developing a patient-centered response to address the pandemic.

Rooted in our mission to help people make informed healthcare decisions and improve healthcare delivery and outcomes, PCORI is poised to support work to provide answers to the challenging COVID-19 related dilemmas facing patients, caregivers, providers, health systems, and policymakers through targeted investments in extending our research, Engagement Awards, and Dissemination and Implementation activities.

PCORI is currently seeking Project Lead-initiated proposals to address the COVID-19 public health crisis through enhancements to currently funded PCORI Engagement Awards. Only PCORI-funded project leads with active Engagement Award contracts are eligible to submit a proposal in response to this funding announcement.

Please Note: We understand that many Engagement Awards will require adjustments to enable the projects to proceed and to produce meaningful findings. While this announcement is not intended to solicit requests for modifications intended primarily to enable achievement of original, planned aims, we are committed to facilitating these types of modifications and suggest that awardees consult PCORI’s COVID-19 FAQs for guidance and for contact information to address these types of modifications and any related questions.


PCORI has a strong interest in generating timely findings to provide answers to dilemmas facing patients, clinicians, health systems, and other stakeholders and entities battling the novel coronavirus pandemic in the United States. Through this announcement, we are interested in supporting Enhancements to existing Engagement Awards that can be initiated sufficiently quickly to influence the outcome of the current pandemic by using existing teams that are currently funded by PCORI. They should have some relationship to the original award.

Enhancements may include modest additions to existing aims, or an adjunct project that has some relationship to the original award, including a new aim (or aims) designed to produce useful knowledge or research support related to COVID-19 and the original award. Simultaneous adaptation of original aims to account for COVID-19 may also be proposed. Taking advantage of natural experiments in health system, state, and provider responses is encouraged.


Enhancement proposals should reflect one of the following:

  • Use an existing Engagement Award project infrastructure to build capacity to conduct engagement in patient-centered comparative effectiveness research (CER)/patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) through alternate mechanisms in a time of social/physical distancing and isolation, or
  • Enhance an Engagement Award project’s efforts to increase patient and stakeholder communities’ understanding of CER/PCOR around COVID-19, particularly those studies funded by PCORI, or
  • Leverage existing engagement infrastructure to expand upon objectives/aims/methods to specifically be responsive to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Enhancements for all projects should seek to leverage existing project personnel expertise and infrastructure when possible. Additional personnel are allowable if existing project personnel are unavailable or lack the requisite expertise for the Enhancement proposed. Though not required, evidence that existing project stakeholders support the proposed Enhancement is desirable. Given the uncertainty brought about by the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, PCORI requests that all awardees prepare back-up plans should any planned in-person meeting no longer be feasible.

Review and Approval Process:

Enhancement proposals will be considered on a rolling basis. Following receipt of awardee-initiated proposals, PCORI will complete review of proposals. You may be contacted by your assigned Program Officer for additional information as part of PCORI’s review.

For Engagement Awards, determinations will be made using the criteria below:

  • Past performance on current PCORI-funded Engagement Project
  • Value added to PCORI’s position within the field of COVID-19 research and Engagement Awards portfolio
  • Does not undermine the original project aims, except minor adjustments for COVID-19-related challenges
  • First deliverables should be completed within three months
  • Budget is reasonable in the context of the other expenses for this project and general reasonable cost designations.

Proposal, Budget Summary, and Budget Justification Deadline

Proposals were considered on a rolling basis until the deadline of Friday, July 17, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. ET.

Key Dates

Application Deadline
July 17, 2020

Funds and Project Period

Total Costs

Engagement Award Enhancements may not exceed $150,000 (direct and indirect costs)

Maximum Project Period

Enhancement may not increase project timeline by more than 12 months

To Apply for this Opportunity:

  1. Read the full funding opportunity above.
  2. Contact your assigned Program Officer (PO) to briefly discuss whether your proposed enhancement fits within the scope of this announcement.
  3. If authorized by your PO, your institution Administrative Official (AO) should submit completed copies of the below Applicant Resources to [email protected], copying your PO and assigned Contract Administrator. 
  4. Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis per the criteria and process noted above under “Review and Approval Process."

Applicant Resources:

i Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), United States, 2020. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html#2019coronavirus-summary

ii Johns Hopkins University. (2020) Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University, 2020 https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

iii Stafford K., Hoyer M. and Morrison A. Outcry over racial data grows as virus slams black Americans. The Associated Press, 2020 https://apnews.com/71d952faad4a2a5d14441534f7230c7c