Submissions of Letters of Intent/applications for this funding opportunity is closed.

The Engagement Award Program is now accepting Letters of Intent (LOIs) for the Engagement Award: Capacity Building funding opportunity. This opportunity aims to build the capacity and skills of patients and stakeholders to engage in all phases of patient-centered outcomes research/comparative clinical effectiveness research (PCOR/CER). All proposed projects must show how they will help to build capacity for PCOR/CER. You may propose projects that will last up to two years and cost up to $250,000.

This recording introduces the October 2023 Cycle Engagement Award: Capacity Building funding announcement. To view or download the slides, click here.

I. Engagement Award Program Information

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) plans to award up to $25 million in fiscal year 2024 as part of the Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award Program. This program supports projects that encourage active, meaningful involvement of patients, caregivers, clinicians and other healthcare stakeholders as integral members of the patient-centered outcomes research/comparative clinical effectiveness research (PCOR/CER) enterprise. This program is not a research funding opportunity.

Review how PCORI defines PCOR/CER before you apply.

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 healthcare options to determine what works best for which patients under what circumstances. Outcomes are the measurable results, positive or negative, of a healthcare option.
  • PCOR is patient-centered outcomes research. It is a type of CER. PCOR is CER that 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:

II. Capacity Building Funding Opportunity Overview

The Engagement Award: Capacity Building funding opportunity focuses on capacity building for patient and/or stakeholder engagement in PCOR/CER. This refers to projects that:

  • Help patients and/or stakeholders who are not researchers engage as partners in PCOR/CER. These projects will help the various stakeholder communities partner in a meaningful way with researchers throughout the PCOR/CER process.
  • Strengthen the skills of researchers to be better partners with patients and other stakeholders involved in PCOR/CER.

Projects must build capacity for patient and/or stakeholder engagement in PCOR/CER. Projects must also show:

  • A need for additional patient and/or stakeholder capacity to take part in future PCOR/CER.
  • A connection to future opportunities to take part in PCOR/CER.
  • The organization’s relationship to the population.
  • The organization’s track record in engagement.
  • Commitment from the patient and/or stakeholder communities to be involved in the project and clear patient and/or stakeholder involvement/leadership in all stages of the project from beginning to end.
  • Transferable information and learnings to be generated by the project; they must be of interest or use to the applicant organizations and to others doing related work. PCORI is committed to using and sharing successful approaches. See the PCORI Engagement Tool and Resource Repository for examples.

Projects should use existing engagement tools and resources when possible, rather than develop new products and tools. These tools, processes or programs can be used alone or combined; they may also be used in a new population or geographic area.

Patient and Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholders include patients, their families, caregivers, organizations that represent patients, clinicians, community members, healthcare purchasers, payers, industry, hospital and other health systems, policy makers and training institutions.


Diagram showing Comparative Clinical Effectiveness going through researchers and stakeholders (the research team) to Patient centered outcomes research. Stakeholder listed below

Patients and other stakeholders who have a connection to, expertise in or lived experience related to the focus area and PCOR/CER should be partners in the project. Projects should include shared leadership and planning teams. The stakeholder groups must be engaged throughout the project. This includes developing the LOI and full proposal, planning and participating in the project and evaluating and sharing project results.

You must submit letters of support from partners, including patients and/or stakeholders, with your full proposal.

III. National Priorities for Health, Topic Themes, and Special Areas of Interest

PCORI’s funding announcements align with our National Priorities for Health and Topic Themes. The goal is to make sure funded projects address the health and healthcare challenges facing the nation today and in the years ahead. PCORI welcomes Engagement Award LOIs on any topic that meets the Engagement Award Program guidelines, but please be aware of the following National Priorities for Health, Topic Themes and Special Areas of Interest when developing your application:

  • National Priorities for Health. These are PCORI’s goals that focus on impact, guiding our research funding and other initiatives to improve patient care and health outcomes. The priorities were developed with input from stakeholders. 
  • Topic Themes. These address specific populations, health behaviors and health conditions. Populations of interest include older adults, children and youth. The Topic Themes also address health conditions, including cardiovascular health, mental and behavioral health, pain management and sleep health as well as health behaviors, such as substance use and violence and trauma. Four ongoing themes are preventing maternal morbidity and mortality, improving outcomes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, addressing COVID-19 and addressing rare disease.

For this PFA, PCORI has named two Special Areas of Interest from these Topic Themes:

IV. Application Review Process

Applying for funding through this PFA is a two-step process. First you submit a Letter of Intent (LOI). Then you must be invited to submit a full proposal.

PCORI conducts rigorous review of the LOIs and full proposals it receives. PCORI may opt to withdraw LOIs and full proposals from the review process if they:

  • Are incomplete, are late or do not meet the criteria in the Engagement Award Submission Instructions, the PCORI templates and PCORI Online.
  • Do not follow the requirements in this PFA, include nonresponsive activity or do not meet PCORI’s programmatic criteria.

More information is available on the Engagement Award Review Process.

V. Related Engagement Award Opportunities

For applicants interested in projects focused on building capacity for disseminating and implementing PCORI-funded research findings, or actively disseminating PCORI-funded research findings, please see the Engagement Award: Dissemination Initiative funding opportunity. Further explanation of the difference between these two opportunities is available on PCORI's Funding Opportunities for Disseminating Evidence webpage.

For applicants interested primarily in multi-stakeholder convenings, meetings and conferences that have a focus on, and commitment to, supporting collaboration around PCOR/CER, please see the Engagement Award: Stakeholder Convening Support funding opportunity.

VI. Questions?

Read the full announcement and Engagement Award Submission Instructions before you apply. Direct any questions to [email protected].

To discuss a project idea with PCORI staff, submit a request for an EA Applicant Virtual Office Hours session.

PCORI aims to respond to all questions within two business days. However, it cannot promise a response within two business days before a deadline. Plan accordingly; please submit the LOI or full proposal by the deadlines.

Download Full Announcement

Key Dates

Online System Opens
July 18, 2023
Letter of Intent Deadline
September 28, 2023, by 5 p.m. (ET)
Letter of Intent Status Notification
Within 60 calendar days of LOI deadline.
Application Deadline
By invitation only; full proposals are due January 10, 2024, by 5 p.m. (ET)
Earliest Start Date
June 1, 2024

Funds and Project Period

Total Costs
Award total costs may not exceed $250,000 (direct + indirect costs)
Maximum Project Period
Two years

VII. To Apply for This Opportunity

  1. Read the full funding announcement.
  2. Follow the process outlined in the Submission Instructions.
  3. Submit a Letter of Intent.
  4. Submit a Full Proposal (if invited).

VIII. Applicant Resources

October 2023 Cycle Resources

Preparing Your LOI

Preparing Your Full Proposal

Required Full Proposal Templates

Additional Applicant Resources