Thank you for your interest in the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute's (PCORI) Eugene Washington Engagement Awards Program.

This announcement will help you decide if the Engagement Award: Building Capacity for Small Organizations to Engage in PCOR/CER is a good fit for your organization. You will also learn the steps to apply for funding.

Overview: Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award Program

The Engagement Award Program (EA Program) funds projects to build capacity to engage in patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR). PCOR is a special type of comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER). PCORI’s definitions of PCOR and CER are in the box below.

    Download the PFA

The goal is to help patients and other stakeholders build partnerships to plan, conduct, share, and use PCOR/CER. Stakeholders are patients, caregivers, doctors, and other people involved in health care.

The EA Program supports PCORI’s Engagement Imperative, defined in the Strategic Plan. It helps ensure patients and other stakeholders have a voice in all stages of research that affects them.

These awards are for research support. They are meant to support teams in getting ready to participate in PCOR/CER.  This program is not a research funding opportunity.

Applicant Resources

Contact [email protected] to schedule a program fit call.

Key Definitions: CER and PCOR
  • CER is comparative clinical effectiveness research. It is research that compares the outcomes, including possible benefits and harms, of two or more available health care options, to determine what works best for which patients, under what circumstances. Outcomes are the measurable results, positive or negative, of a health care option.
  • PCOR is patient-centered outcomes research. It is a type of CER. PCOR compares outcomes that matter most to stakeholders, such as patients and those who care for them, healthcare providers, and healthcare advocates. Patient-centered outcomes research requires the engagement of stakeholders as active partners in research. By sharing their lived experience and expertise, stakeholders influence research to be more patient-centered, relevant, and useful.
  • PCOR and CER are often listed together as PCOR/CER to show that PCOR is a type of CER. The term patient-centered CER also describes PCOR/CER.
  • For more information:

Overview: Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award: Building Capacity for Small Organizations to Engage in PCOR/CER   

The EA Program helps organizations and stakeholders build their capacity to participate in PCOR/CER. Conversations with stakeholders identified that many small organizations want to build this capacity. Stakeholders thought these groups would benefit from learning from each other and receiving technical assistance (TA). The EA Program developed this new funding opportunity to address these needs.

This funding opportunity supports two-year projects. These projects help small organizations engage in PCOR/CER. (Small organizations are defined in Eligibility Section.) These groups may apply for up to $250,000.

You may be familiar with the EA Program’s Engagement Award: Capacity Building funding opportunity and wonder how that opportunity is different from the opportunity described in this document. Both seek to build capacity for stakeholders to meaningfully engage across all stages of PCOR/CER.

But this new award is exclusively focused on small organizations. It recognizes the unique perspective that small organizations can bring to the PCOR/CER process. It is also designed for small organizations that may not have any experience with PCOR/CER.

You might be new to PCOR/CER. You may be new to the process of applying for PCORI funding, too. PCORI will provide TA to help you apply and during the project period. During the application period, you, as the applicant, will have access to:

  • Webinars.
  • Live chats with program staff.
  • FAQs.
  • Calls with program staff to discuss your idea.
  • A guide to help you prepare a full proposal.

During the project period, you as the awardee, will have access to one-on-one TA. Also, you must take part in a learning network during the project. Through the learning network, you can:

  • Get TA on your project.
  • Share your knowledge and experience with others.
  • Offer lessons learned.

The next section gives more details on this funding opportunity.

TA Opportunities

Preparing Your Letter of Intent (LOI)

  • Live chats with EA Program staff.
  • Webinar with details about the funding program and how to apply.
  • Calls to discuss project ideas and program fit with EA Program staff.

Preparing Your Full Proposal

  • Calls with EA Program staff.
    • You are required to have at least one call with EA program staff while preparing your proposal.
  • Live chats with EA Program staff.
  • A guide to help you prepare your proposal.

During Your Project Period (you must participate in)

  • One-on-one monthly check-in calls with your PCORI Program Officer.
  • Monthly group learning network activities.
  • Three larger meetings over two years.

Key Information for the Engagement Award October 2022 Funding Cycle

  • At this time, PCORI strongly recommends applicants plan for either an all-virtual meeting or a hybrid meeting, where participants can choose to attend either in person or virtually. More information on application requirements can be found in the Submitting a Successful Application section of this PFA. Additionally, please consult PCORI’s Applicant and Awardee FAQs Related to COVID-19 to ensure your proposed project adheres to PCORI’s guidance related to applicant pre-award concerns.
  • PCORI is aware that there is an evolving context around the COVID-19 pandemic. We are committed to working with awardees to adapt projects and processes to the evolving context during this time so that deliverables are implemented fully as per the executed contract.
Download Full Announcement

Key Dates

Online System Opens
July 19, 2022
Applicant Town Hall
View Event
Letter of Intent Deadline
September 29, 2022 by 5pm (ET)
Application Deadline
Full proposals are due January 24, 2023 by 5pm (ET) [By invitation only]
Earliest Start Date
July 1, 2023

Funds and Project Period

Total Costs
Award total costs may not exceed $250,000 (Direct + Indirect Costs)
Maximum Project Period
2 years

I. Details/Requirements of Funding Opportunity

This section outlines the details and requirements of the funding opportunity. It also helps you decide if you can apply for this funding opportunity. Please review the eligibility requirements carefully.

For instructions on how to apply, please read the Engagement Award: Building Capacity for Small Organizations to Engage in PCOR/CER Submission Instructions.

The EA Program is now accepting LOIs for the Engagement Award: Building Capacity for Small Organizations to Engage in PCOR/CER. Please note: The Engagement Award Program funds research support. This program is not a research funding opportunity.

Projects must start on July 1, 2023. They must be two years long. You may request up to $250,000, including both direct and indirect costs.


  • Your organization must be one of the following:
    • A private-sector organization, including any nonprofit or for-profit organization;
    • A public-sector organization, including any university or college hospital or healthcare system; or
    • A unit of local, state, or federal government.

The Internal Revenue Service must recognize all US applicant organizations. Organizations may apply through a fiscal sponsor if necessary. The fiscal sponsor must be recognized by the Internal Revenue Service. Individuals are not permitted to apply. Nondomestic components of organizations based in the United States and foreign organizations may apply, as long as there is demonstrable benefit to the US healthcare system, and US efforts in the area of patient-centered research can be shown clearly.

  • Your organization must have an average yearly operating budget of $1.5 million or less over the past two fiscal years.
  • Your organization may not have received a total of over $100,000 through previous award(s) from the EA Program. If your organization was a subcontractor on an award, the funds your organization received do not count towards this total.
  • If you apply for this funding, your organization cannot apply for other Engagement Award funding opportunities in this cycle.

In addition: 

  • The Project Lead and Administrative Official must be an employee or board member of your organization.
  • Your organization must have the following:
    • Relationships with researchers or research networks. You will have to provide letters of support from researchers. The letters must include their interest in the project. The letters must be submitted with the full proposal. They cannot be submitted with the LOI.
    • Relationships with patients and other stakeholders. These stakeholders must have a connection to, expertise in, or lived experience with your focus area. You will have to provide letters of support from these individuals or groups. The letters must include their interest in the project. The letters must be submitted with the full proposal. They cannot be submitted with the LOI.


The project will help your organization build the skills you need to help you and your community be partners with researchers and in research. You must explain an interest in and rationale for your community’s engagement in PCOR/CER.

By taking part in the program, you and your organization will:

  • Build your organizations capacity to participate in PCOR/CER while benefitting from PCORI’s expertise.
  • Learn more about PCOR/CER.
  • Learn skills to engage in PCOR/CER.
  • Teach stakeholders about PCOR/CER and the value of taking part in research.
  • Find training resources for PCOR/CER and collaborating with other organizations.
  • Create or build sustainable stakeholder partnerships, collaboratives, and learning communities.
  • Create channels to communicate with stakeholders.
  • Identify ideas for future PCOR/CER important to your community.
  • Plan and commit to the next steps needed to further your work in PCOR/CER.
  • Network with other small organizations that share your interests and experiences.
  • Learn from fellow awardees and other experts about how to engage in PCOR/CER.
  • Become part of a larger PCOR/CER community.

Project Activities

Your organization will create and conduct project activities tailored to your own community. PCORI will provide TA throughout the project. TA will include both one-on-one support and a learning network. (More details on TA activities appear later in this section.)

Some project activities are required. Others are optional. (Some are not allowed. Check the list to find out what activities are not allowed.) You must decide which methods will work best to carry out these activities in your community.

Required project activities include:

  • Create a road map that explains next steps to support your organization’s journey toward engagement in PCOR/CER.
  • Evaluate your project.
  • Take part in the learning network.

Your organization should create other activities that support your needs. Recommended activities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Educate and train patients and other stakeholders on the basics of PCOR/CER.
    • Consider using PCORI’s Research Fundamentals. This training is free and on demand. It offers ways to learn about the health research process and be involved in PCOR. You may also use other materials and trainings that fit the needs of your community.
  • Build a stakeholder partnership or learning community that you can maintain over time. Create a clear mission and structure for the arrangement.
    • PCORI’s Building Effective Multi-Stakeholder Research Teams may be a useful resource for you. The website gives ideas about how to engage with multi-stakeholder teams. It addresses two key areas:
      • How to make stakeholders, such as patients and the people who care for them, active members of the team.
      • How to work together as a team.
  • Ask patients and other stakeholders to help create ideas for future PCOR/CER, such as:
    • Capturing views on new PCOR/CER needs.
    • Focusing on PCOR/CER topics.
    • Creating a research agenda.
    • Writing research questions.
  • Form an advisory group that includes a range of stakeholders. Ask them to create the operational framework needed to engage in PCOR/CER (such as governance documents).
  • Find out which patient-centered outcomes are most important to your patients and other stakeholders.
  • Create a project logic model.
  • Create tools that teach people how to get involved in PCOR/CER. These tools should be geared toward your community. Then encourage people in your community to use the tools and take part in PCOR/CER. Before you develop a new tool, PCORI suggests that you consider using existing engagement tools and resources when you can, rather than develop new ones. The PCORI Engagement Tool and Resource Repository is a resource that may be helpful to you. You can find engagement tools and resources from past PCORI-funded awardees on the website.

You must show how your proposed project affects your organization’s planned activities and overall path. Explain how the work conducted affects or will affect engagement in PCOR/CER.

The learning your project creates must be useful to others doing the work, not just to your organization.

Learning Network

As an awardee, you must dedicate time to take part in a learning network throughout the project period. The Project Lead must take part in network activities. PCORI will host and manage the network.

Through the network, you can get TA on your project, share your knowledge, and experience, and offer lessons learned.

The learning network will meet regularly. It will host virtual activities each month and three larger hybrid or in-person meetings over two years. Your staff may use funds from the project budget to take part in the network. You may request additional TA from PCORI at any time.

Your commitment includes the following:

  • One PCORI-hosted network meeting per month (virtual).
  • Up to three PCORI-hosted meetings (two days each) over the two-year project period. These meetings may be virtual or in person.
  • Other participation as needed (additional learning or one-on-one TA sessions).

Project Evaluation

You must evaluate your project. Your project evaluation will help you determine if you have met your own goal and objectives. You should tailor the evaluation to measure what is most important to you. The results can help shape your future activities. You may find PCORI’s Evaluation Reporting Tool helpful to collect data for your evaluation. As an awardee, you can request TA to refine your evaluation plan.

You may also be asked to participate in a program-wide evaluation activity led by PCORI. We want to measure individual project progress and progress across all projects throughout the funding period. The information we learn from this program-wide evaluation will help you better understand what your project achieved. You will also gain insight into the results from other projects. The information from the evaluation will also help PCORI understand what worked and what didn’t in this new funding opportunity.

II. General Requirements for Engagement Award Program

This section gives more details about how your project can meet PCORI’s funding requirements. Projects that do not meet these requirements are called nonresponsive. Use this guidance, along with the information below, as you prepare your application.

Engagement Award Priorities

The EA program supports PCORI’s Engagement Imperative. (This is defined in PCORI’s Strategic Plan.) The goal is to involve more stakeholders in the research process.

Categories of Nonresponsiveness

Applicants will be deemed nonresponsive if they:

  • Do not have a clear focus on PCOR/CER.
  • Solely intend to increase patient engagement in health care or healthcare systems rather than healthcare research.
  • Design or test healthcare interventions.
  • Involve the use of a drug or medical device.
  • Create clinical practice guidelines, care protocols, or decision support tools.
  • Create coverage, payment, or policy recommendations or guidelines.
  • Address only quality measures, quality improvement, or engagement around quality measures.
  • Recruit and enroll patients for clinical trials.
  • Involve patients only as subjects.
  • Are research studies, such as randomized controlled trials, observational studies, and pragmatic clinical studies.
  • Create or maintain a registry or recruit people for a registry.
  • Are designed solely to validate tools or instruments not created through a PCORI-funded project.
  • Involve writing research proposals, completing grant applications, and/or grantmaking.
  • Focus solely on social determinants of health, with no focus on PCOR/CER.
  • Plan to disseminate research results without including PCORI-funded research or related products.
  • Carry out PCORI findings in a clinical practice setting. PCORI funds this type of project in a different program.
  • Aim to influence, directly or indirectly, 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.
  • Aim to create an independent corporation (nonprofit or for-profit), limited liability company, partnership, or other legal entity.


The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how work is done. PCORI will help awardees so they can still meet their contract goals. You should propose a backup plan for meetings that can’t be held in person. See PCORI’s Applicant and Awardee FAQs Related to COVID-19 to ensure your project follows PCORI’s guidance on pre-award concerns.

Awarded Projects: What PCORI Funds and Avoiding Overlap

Please review Engagement Award funded projects on our website. PCORI aims to fund a wide range of projects. PCORI also wants to avoid overlap where possible.

Required Education of Key Personnel on the Protection of Human Subject Participants

All awardees must follow the National Institutes of Health (NIH) policy on education in the protection of human subject participants in the conduct of research. See Section for more details. This applies to all key personnel listed in the application.

Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information

PCORI-funded projects must follow all federal, state, and local laws and regulations designed to protect the privacy and security of health information.  Two examples include:

  • The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996.
  • State laws such as the California Consumer Privacy Act.

Please use all resources and tools federal or state sources provide to learn more about the laws and rules that apply to your project. Your organization is responsible for protecting the privacy of the people who take part in PCORI-funded projects.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

As a research funder, PCORI has been guided by a core National Priority to Achieve Health Equity. The goal of this National Priority is to expand stakeholder engagement, research, and dissemination approaches that lead to continued progress toward achieving health equity in the United States. In addition, PCORI is committed to broadening and diversifying the community that leads and participates in health research.

III. How to Apply


Here is a summary of the steps to apply:

  1. Read this Funding Announcement fully and carefully.
  2. Follow the Submission Instructions.
  3. RECOMMENDED: Request a program fit call (optional) by emailing your idea to [email protected].
    1. Complete this form before meeting with an EA Program Officer.
  4. Submit an LOI.
  5. Submit a full proposal (if invited).
    1. If invited to submit a full proposal, you must have at least one call with an EA Program Officer.

Application and Review Process Overview

You must submit an LOI if your organization would like to apply for funding.

The LOI must arrive by the stated deadline. LOIs will be screened to make sure the proposed project meets the program goals and rules. PCORI will review LOIs within 75 calendar days of submission.

If your LOI is approved, you will be invited to submit a full proposal. You must submit the full proposal by the stated deadline. PCORI will review your full proposal. If needed, PCORI will ask you to send more information.

PCORI aims to tell you, via email, if your proposal has been chosen for funding, within 90 calendar days of the submission deadline. If your proposal is chosen, a PCORI staff member will contact you to plan the next steps.

PCORI’s Engagement teams and other experts will review all LOIs and full proposals. PCORI’s Contract Management team will review full proposals for budget and policy compliance.

LOI Process

These documents will be helpful as you prepare your LOI:

Reviewers will use these criteria to assess your LOI:

  • Program Fit.
  • Project Summary.
  • Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan.
  • Project Lead Previous Experience.
  • Budget/Cost Proposal.

Full Proposal Process

If invited, these documents will be helpful as you prepare your full proposal:

Reviewers will use these criteria to assess your full proposal:

  • Program Fit.
  • Project Plan and Timeline.
  • Qualifications of the Project Lead, Personnel, and Organizational Capabilities.
  • Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan and Collaborators.
  • Past Performance.
  • Budget/Cost Proposal.

Appropriate Permissions: You may decide to use an engagement tool or resource in your project. If so, PCORI suggests that projects use or adapt existing engagement tools and resources when they can, rather than develop new ones.

  1. If your project will use an existing PCORI-funded engagement tool or resource, you should identify it by listing the (a) Tool Name, (b) Project Title, (c) Project Lead Name, and (d) URL to project page.
  2. You must get permission from the copyright owner to use and, if needed, adapt the tool or resource. Permission must be in the form of a letter of support. The owner is most often the awardee institution of the original PCORI Award project team. The owner must grant you rights to use the tool or resource needed to carry out the project.

For more details on the review process, see Review Process.

Required Full Proposal Templates

Applicants who are invited to submit a full proposal will be able to get TA to complete the following:

IV. Applicant Technical Assistance and Resources

Before you submit an LOI, you are encouraged to ask for a program fit call with program staff. In this call, you will discuss your project idea. PCORI will also have office hours for an online chat during the LOI application period. PCORI will host a webinar about how to apply and post the recording on PCORI’s website.

If you are invited to submit a full proposal, PCORI will offer more resources to help you prepare it. These resources include the following:

  • A webinar.
  • Live chat sessions with program staff.
  • A guide to help you prepare your proposal.
  • One-on-one sessions with program staff.

You may be new to PCOR/CER and engaged research. Please look at the FAQs for this funding announcement if you have any questions that were not answered. Alternatively, you can send an email to [email protected]

October 2022 Cycle Resources

Additional Applicant Resources

V. Questions? Contact Us

If you have any questions or would like to schedule a call, contact PCORI at [email protected] or (202) 370-9312. PCORI will respond within three business days.