The submission period for Letters of Intent and Applications for this funding opportunity is now closed.

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) plans to award up to $25 million in fiscal year 2023 as part of the Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award Program. These awards are for research support projects. This program is not a research funding opportunity.

The Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award 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. 

The Engagement Award Program is now accepting Letters of Intent (LOIs) for the Engagement Award: Dissemination Initiative funding opportunity. This opportunity aims to support projects that help organizations and communities plan for or actively bring pertinent PCORI-funded research findings to their specific audiences, including relevant patients, clinicians, communities, and others, in ways that will command their attention and interest and encourage use of this information in their healthcare decision making. Applicants may propose projects up to two years in duration and up to $250,000 in total costs. 

  • For the October 2022 Engagement Award funding cycle, the contract start date should be planned for no earlier than June 1, 2023, and no later than November 1, 2023.

PCORI strongly encourages applicants to acquaint themselves with PCORI’s definition of PCOR/CER prior to submitting an application to the Engagement Award Program. All proposed projects must demonstrate a connection to PCOR and CER.

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:

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.
  • Applicants for an Engagement Award: Dissemination Initiative award will be required to project on one of two tracks -- Building Capacity for Dissemination or Active Dissemination -- and will self-select the track at the time of the LOI Submissions.
  • Applicants must complete the Engagement Award: Dissemination Initiative LOI supplement template and upload the file to the PCORI online at the time of the LOI submission.
  • If invited to submit a full proposal, applicants will be directed to complete a Project Workplan and Timeline template specific to the selected Engagement Award: Dissemination Initiative funding track.
  • As in previous cycles, applicants should keep personnel costs below 50 percent of the total project budget. In this funding cycle, additional guidance for project budget development is included in the submitting a successful application section of the PFA.
Download Full Announcement

Key Dates

Online System Opens
Letter of Intent Deadline
Earliest Start Date

Funds and Project Period

Total Costs
Award total costs may not exceed $250,000 (Direct + Indirect Costs)
Maximum Project Period
2 years
Video: About the Dissemination Initiative Funding Opportunity

I. General Requirements for Engagement Award Program

This section includes language that is specific to PCORI’s requirements for programmatic responsiveness under this funding announcement. Applicants should use this section as guidance when preparing their LOIs and full proposals. For information related to administrative and technical requirements for LOI and full proposal submission, please consult the Engagement Award Submission Instructions

Engagement Award Priorities

The Engagement Award Program supports PCORI’s Engagement Imperative—defined in our Strategic Plan—and provides a platform to increase engagement in research, that is, the meaningful involvement of patients, caregivers, clinicians, and other healthcare stakeholders throughout the research process. We expect projects selected for an Engagement Award to result in tools and resources that may be useful to other awardees for increasing patient and/or other stakeholder engagement in the PCOR/CER process, from topic generation to dissemination and implementation of results. We are committed to using and widely sharing this information. Please see the PCORI Engagement Tool and Resource Repository for examples of what this can look like. 

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 nonresponsiveness if it does not address the specifications described in this PFA, includes a formal cost-effectiveness analysis of alternative approaches to providing care, or otherwise does not meet PCORI programmatic requirements. 

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.) 
  • 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

Avoiding Redundancy

PCORI encourages potential applicants to review the portfolio of funded Engagement Award projects. PCORI intends to balance the funded portfolio of projects to achieve synergy and avoid redundancy where possible.

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

PCORI requires that all applicants adhere to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) policy on education in the protection of human subject participants. This applies to all individuals listed as key personnel in the application. The policy and frequently asked questions (FAQs) are available on the NIH website.

Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information

PCORI-funded activities are expected to comply with applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations of any applicable jurisdiction governing the privacy and security of health information, including, if applicable, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) and its implementing regulations. Resources and tools to learn more about specific requirements may be available through federal or state sources, and PCORI encourages institutions to consult such resources for more information as appropriate.

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.

II. Dissemination Initiative

Funding Priorities

The dissemination of research findings to patients, clinicians, communities, and others who can use this information to inform healthcare decisions, is an important part of promoting the uptake of these findings into policy and practice. In many cases, the role of a trusted source in raising awareness of new evidence or placing it in an appropriate context is critical to enabling the uptake of this evidence into practice. This Engagement Award initiative focuses on supporting organizations that are trusted sources for their patient, professional, or other community, to undertake dissemination activities.

Award funds are intended to allow organizations and communities to plan for or actively bring pertinent PCORI-funded research findings to relevant stakeholders in ways that will command their attention and interest, encouraging use of this information in their healthcare decision making. For example, patients may use information to decide on a treatment; community members may use evidence to decide on wellness approaches; clinicians may use research findings to update their recommendations or discussions with patients; or clinic administrators may use evidence to choose among peer-support programs. 

Dissemination projects should target end users directly, although the focus of the dissemination activity may be on an intermediary. For example, training of providers who will communicate information to patients is within the scope of a dissemination activity. 

Applicants for an Engagement Award: Dissemination Initiative will be required to focus their project on one of two tracks—Building Capacity for Dissemination or Active Dissemination—and will self-select the focus at the time of LOI submission. 

Defining Dissemination

  • For this funding announcement, we define dissemination as the intentional, active process of identifying target audiences and tailoring communication strategies to increase awareness and understanding of evidence and to motivate its use in practice, policy, or individual choices. 
  • For this funding announcement, efforts must focus on capacity building in, or increasing knowledge and awareness among, a substantial group of relevant stakeholders -- not simply creating materials that could be used for this purpose. Material creation is supported under this mechanism but should not be the main focus of proposed projects nor should such materials command the primary use or allocation of personnel, time, effort, or budget. 
  • See PCORI's Dissemination and Implementation Framework and Toolkit for context around how this opportunity fits into the broader effort of encouraging the use of PCORI-funded evidence in individual decision-making, policy, practice.

Funding Tracks

The Engagement Award: Dissemination Initiative will give organizations and communities the opportunity to propose either:

  1. Building Capacity for Dissemination projects to lay the groundwork for disseminating and implementing PCORI-funded research findings through organizations with strong ties to end-user audiences, such as patients, clinicians, communities, and others who can use this information to inform healthcare decisions. Projects may focus on partnership development and understanding stakeholder interests, strengthening the infrastructure and relationships necessary for active dissemination of PCORI-funded research findings. This may include developing, demonstrating, and evaluating the processes, pathways, or tools necessary to incorporate PCOR/CER results into decision making.

or

  1. Active Dissemination projects aimed at spreading awareness and increasing knowledge of PCORI-funded research findings, targeted directly to end-user audiences, such as patients, clinicians, communities, and others who can use this information to inform healthcare decisions. Projects will be designed by organizations and communities with established relationships with relevant stakeholders to actively disseminate the findings from PCORI-funded studies—on their own or as part of the body of existing evidence relevant to the PCORI-funded research findings.

The following table summarizes the distinctions between the two funding tracks. Details regarding each track are included later in this document.

  Building Capacity for Dissemination Active Dissemination
Opportunity Projects that lay the groundwork for disseminating and implementing PCORI-funded research findings through organizations with strong ties to end-user audiences, such as patients, clinicians, communities, and others who can use this information to inform healthcare decisions. Projects aimed at spreading awareness and increasing knowledge of PCORI-funded research findings, targeted directly to end-user audiences, such as patients, clinicians, communities, and others who can use this information to inform healthcare decisions.
Potential Activities

Activities should focus on developing, demonstrating, and evaluating the processes/pathways/tools necessary to incorporate PCOR/CER results into decision making settings.

Examples of pathways to capacity building include but are not limited to: establishing learning collaboratives that will support a dissemination effort or working through cross-organization collaborations to develop the plans and commitments required for an effective dissemination initiative.

Activities should focus on leveraging pre-existing relationships with relevant stakeholders to ensure that research results are disseminated through the appropriate pathways for optimal utilization.

Examples of pathways to actively disseminate include but are not limited to: targeted social media campaigns, communities of faith, research networks, state or regional collaboratives, association communications.
Evidence Requirements Applicants must identify an area of PCORI’s existing or emerging PCOR/CER findings highly relevant to their target population and in alignment with their organization/institution’s goals. Research results should also be placed within the context of the existing body of evidence in the topic area identified.

All eligible PCORI-funded research findings proposed must have been published in a peer-reviewed journal (primary CER results) or completed and posted on PCORI’s website (systematic reviews and evidence updates) by the LOI receipt date.

Applicants should closely review the section Evidence Eligible for Active Dissemination Projects below and contact the Engagement Award program at [email protected] for questions regarding evidence eligibility.
Successful Applications Will Include See list here. See list here.

Related Opportunities

PCORI’s Dissemination and Implementation (D&I) Program is charged with promoting the uptake and use of PCORI-funded research in practice to support patients, caregivers, clinicians, and other stakeholders in making informed health decisions. As such, the program offers several award opportunities—in both dissemination and implementation—which some applicants may be eligible to pursue. The Engagement Award: Dissemination Initiative offers a broader, stakeholder-initiated opportunity to build capacity for dissemination or actively disseminate an increasing number of findings, drawing on the experience and expertise of organizations and communities in reaching relevant stakeholders and capitalizing on a history of trust. For information about D&I program award opportunities and explanation of distinctions between the Engagement Award: Dissemination Initiative and Dissemination Projects awarded through the D&I program, please visit PCORI's Funding Opportunities for Disseminating Evidence web page.

The Engagement Award: Capacity Building funding opportunity aims to support projects that help communities increase their facility with and ability to participate across all phases of the PCOR/CER process. Unlike the Building Capacity for Dissemination funding track described in this document, it offers a broader scope of activities to address stakeholder engagement in the full PCOR/CER process. For more information about this separate opportunity, please visit the Engagement Award: Capacity Building web page.

III. Building Capacity for Dissemination

Building Capacity for Dissemination Strategies 

PCORI intends for Building Capacity for Dissemination projects to focus on strengthening the infrastructure and relationships necessary to actively disseminate or implement research results, products, or programs tested within PCORI-funded research studies. Strategies proposed will vary based on the results being disseminated, the groups identified as relevant stakeholders, and the goals of the dissemination effort. Project activities may include developing, demonstrating, and evaluating the processes/pathways/tools necessary to incorporate PCOR/CER results into decision making settings.

For Building Capacity for Dissemination projects, applicants must identify an area of PCORI’s existing or emerging PCOR/CER findings highly relevant to their target population and in alignment with their organization/institution’s goals.

Project activities should build capacity for upcoming efforts to actively disseminate these findings, within the context of the existing body of evidence in the topic area as well as future, related PCORI-funded studies. While the initiation of active dissemination efforts is not required nor expected as part of a Building Capacity for Dissemination project, applicants must clearly explain how the infrastructure and relationships developed to disseminate and/or implement PCORI-funded research findings could be sustained over time, and the organization’s commitment to future active dissemination. Additionally, applicants should indicate whether the project may have the potential to be scaled to reach an even greater audience or if it could be a vehicle for disseminating and implementing additional PCOR/CER findings.

Submitting a Successful Building Capacity for Dissemination Application

Applicants must consider the following guidance:

  • 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. If an applicant opts for a hybrid meeting or a fully in-person meeting, the Workplan and Budget Justification applicant templates in the full proposal must include a detailed contingency plan for activities and costs related to travel and other in-person meeting expenses should the COVID-19 pandemic interfere with the meeting. 
    • Travel logistics, accessibility, and health and safety considerations of the participants should always be the foremost consideration for any convening, meeting, and/or conference. 
    • If an applicant proposes a meeting with an in-person component, PCORI expects all applicants to implement the most stringent safety protocols as determined by all applicable public health authorities, including all federal, state, and local guidance, laws, and regulations. 
    • 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. 
  • If using a PCORI-funded research or engagement tool or resource: 
    • Include a description of the engagement tool(s) or resource(s) selected and justification for its continued and expanded use. Provide information about prior use or implementation of the tool(s) or resource(s), including any data on its effectiveness to build capacity for patient and stakeholder engagement in PCOR/CER.
    • Secure and provide approval to use tool(s) and resource(s) from the relevant copyright or other intellectual property rights owner of the tool(s) and/or resource(s) in the form of a written letter of support with the full proposal submission. This will typically be from the awardee institution of the original PCORI award (it is up to the applicant to determine from whom to receive such support). The relevant owner must grant the applicant rights to the engagement tool(s)/resource(s) sufficient to carry out the project.
      • The purpose of this letter to ensure that (1) an applicant will be able to fulfill the proposed project and avoid any roadblocks that may prevent fulfillment, and (2) past PCORI awardees are made aware that their tool/resource is being used in another PCORI project.
      • If an applicant is unable to secure such a letter of support or otherwise receive a preliminary license to the intellectual property, the applicant shall notify PCORI prior to the full proposal submission deadline with a determination as to whether (1) the proposed project must be modified to work without such rights, or (2) the proposed project must be abandoned.
      • All letters of support must be attached to the full proposal and submitted no later than the stated full proposal submission deadline.
      • Any revisions to the proposed project due to failure to secure a letter of support must be completed prior to the stated full proposal submission deadline.

Successful Building Capacity for Dissemination applications must include:

  • A completed Engagement Award: Dissemination Initiative LOI Supplemental Template, attached to the LOI submission.
  • A clearly identified topic or condition area and population targeted for future dissemination of PCORI’s completed PCOR/CER studies. Please consult PCORI’s website to review PCOR/CER topics and conditions addressed by PCORI-funded studies.
  • Demonstration of an understanding of the definition of PCOR/CER
  • Rationale that there is a need for additional patient and/or stakeholder capacity to disseminate PCOR/CER.
  • Indicate the importance of reaching the population proposed for future dissemination.
  • A clear pathway between the proposed project and dissemination and/or implementation activities enabled by this project. These activities may include those demonstrated within the project or those planned as the focus of specific future dissemination or implementation efforts.
  • Intended impact of the proposed project.
  • The organization’s relationship to the population and context of the relationship.
  • 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 LOI development to dissemination of project results. Letters of support for the project and/or commitment to participate from patient and/or stakeholder communities are strongly encouraged and may be submitted with the full proposal.
  • A budget that reflects the time and contributions of all partners, including patients and stakeholders. Fair financial compensation demonstrates that patients, caregivers, and patient/caregiver organizations’ contributions to the project, including related commitments of time and effort, are valuable and valued. (See our Financial Compensation of Partners Framework and Budgeting for Engagement Activities for more information. Though these documents discuss compensation in research, the concepts are relevant for Engagement Award projects.) Budgets should account for all costs associated with proposed activities and note any in-kind support or external funding. Budgets should include any expenses for translation or interpretation services that may be required. Applicants should keep personnel costs (applicant organization/institution staff) below 50 percent of the total project budget. However, higher personnel costs may be considered with strong justification included in application documents.
  • Evaluation metrics for assessing the success of the capacity building strategy.
  • Plans for sustainability and next steps after the project period has ended. Future funding from PCORI should not be assumed. If the project does not lend itself to sustained activities after the project period concludes, provide justification.

IV. Active Dissemination

Active Dissemination Strategies

PCORI intends for Active Dissemination projects to spread awareness and increase knowledge of PCORI-funded research findings. Strategies proposed will vary based on the results being disseminated, the relevant stakeholders identified as key users of the information, and the goals of the dissemination effort. Systematic reviews of research on dissemination have outlined a range of dissemination approaches to spread awareness and increase knowledge (McCormack et al., 2013). These include strategies to:

  • Increase the reach of evidence. These strategies purposefully distribute evidence to different targeted audiences and settings to increase the reach of information using different communication channels, such as mail, email, phone, text message, TV, radio, print, social media, webinar, and mobile apps.
  • Increase motivation to use and apply evidence. These strategies focus on increasing interest in the evidence among targeted audiences and within targeted settings, using local champions, community leaders or groups, thought leaders or groups, or experts to actively endorse or promote the evidence being disseminated.
  • Increase ability to use and apply evidence. These strategies enhance people’s ability to understand evidence and generally provide additional resources (how-to materials, training, etc.) relevant to the evidence.

These types of strategies may be used together—in combination or in sequence—to increase the reach of evidence and motivate and facilitate its use (with “reach” contextualized as best as possible so that the overall impact is clear to application reviewers). Successful applicants will draw upon these approaches, as well as on their own experience and creativity, in proposing dissemination strategies most likely to be successful with their target audience. Equal consideration will be given to novel approaches—such as contests promoting awareness—if applicable for a relevant stakeholder audience and accompanied by a sound rationale.

This funding opportunity is intended to support the active dissemination of findings; PCORI will not support projects that propose passive, untailored, and untargeted dissemination strategies, such as untargeted mass mailing, publication of study findings, and untargeted presentations to heterogeneous groups. Additionally, while planning and preparation activities are allowable components of an Active Dissemination project, they should consume a minimal amount of time, with the majority of the project period and budget dedicated to dissemination and evaluation activities.

Evidence Eligible for Active Dissemination Projects

The intent of an Active Dissemination project is to disseminate PCORI-funded research findings.

Prior to proposing evidence for dissemination under this funding opportunity, review the research findings closely for applicability, relevance, and potential impact of dissemination to your stakeholders. Consider what the key messages for dissemination are and be sure to include those in your application. Compatibility between the key messages from the study and the proposed project concept and population are a critical element of a successful application.

Only the following sources of PCORI-funded research findings may be proposed as the basis for dissemination activities under this award. All evidence proposed from the sources below will be considered by reviewers in the context of the proposed project concept. Not all evidence for the proposed project may be found acceptable by reviewers.

  • PCORI-funded Comparative Clinical Effectiveness Research (CER) Results. Papers published in a peer-reviewed journal resulting from PCORI-funded research studies that present primary comparative clinical effectiveness research results.
    • Note: This link goes to a prefiltered list of published primary CER results. Only those publications already listed on the page with the “CER Results” filter in place are eligible. Please do not reset the filter on the results.
  • PCORI-funded Systematic Reviews and Systematic Review Updates. Evidence around specific clinical questions produced by analyzing published and unpublished results from all relevant studies on a given topic.
  • PCORI Evidence Updates. Briefs highlighting some of the important findings from PCORI-funded research studies in a plain-language format for patients and other stakeholders.

All eligible PCORI-funded research findings proposed for active dissemination must have been published in a peer-reviewed journal (primary CER results) or posted on PCORI’s website (systematic reviews and evidence updates) by the LOI submission deadline.

In the LOI and full proposal submissions, Active Dissemination applicants proposing to disseminate PCORI-funded CER results must identify:

  • The title of the eligible PCORI-funded CER results publication
  • The hyperlink to the publication on PCORI’s website
  • The name of the principal investigator (PI) on the related PCORI-funded project (this information can be found at the bottom of the publication page on PCORI’s website and the PI may not necessarily be the lead author on the publication).

In the LOI and full proposal submissions, Active Dissemination applicants proposing to disseminate PCORI-funded Systematic Reviews, Systematic Review Updates, or PCORI Evidence Updates must identify

  • The title of the Systematic Review, Systematic Review Update, or Evidence Update
  • The hyperlink to the Systematic Review, Systematic Review Update, or Evidence Update on PCORI’s website.

Active Dissemination applicants will be required to include as part of their full proposal (if invited) a letter of support demonstrating acknowledgment and/or support from the PI—or another member of the original research team who played a significant role—of each PCORI-funded CER study whose published primary CER findings are being disseminated in the project (applicable for the dissemination of PCORI-funded CER results only).

Please contact the Engagement Award Program at [email protected] for questions regarding evidence eligibility.

Submitting a Successful Active Dissemination Application 

Applicants must consider the following guidance:

  • 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. If an applicant opts for a hybrid meeting or a fully in-person meeting, the Workplan and Budget Justification applicant templates in the full proposal must include a detailed contingency plan for activities and costs related to travel and other in-person meeting expenses should the COVID-19 pandemic interfere with the meeting. 
    • Travel logistics, accessibility, and health and safety considerations of the participants should always be the foremost consideration for any convening, meeting, and/or conference. 
    • If an applicant proposes a meeting with an in-person component, PCORI expects all applicants to implement the most stringent safety protocols as determined by all applicable public health authorities, including all federal, state, and local guidance, laws, and regulations. 
    • 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. 
  • If using a PCORI-funded research or engagement tool or resource: 
    • Include a description of the engagement tool(s) or resource(s) selected and justification for its continued and expanded use. Provide information about prior use or implementation of the tool(s) or resource(s), including any data on its effectiveness to build capacity for patient and stakeholder engagement in PCOR/CER.
    • Secure and provide approval to use tool(s) and resource(s) from the relevant copyright or other intellectual property rights owner of the tool(s) and/or resource(s) in the form of a written letter of support with the full proposal submission. This will typically be from the awardee institution of the original PCORI award (it is up to the applicant to determine from whom to receive such support). The relevant owner must grant the applicant rights to the engagement tool(s)/resource(s) sufficient to carry out the project.
      • The purpose of this letter to ensure that (1) an applicant will be able to fulfill the proposed project and avoid any roadblocks that may prevent fulfillment, and (2) past PCORI awardees are made aware that their tool/resource is being used in another PCORI project.
      • If an applicant is unable to secure such a letter of support or otherwise receive a preliminary license to the intellectual property, the applicant shall notify PCORI prior to the full proposal submission deadline with a determination as to whether (1) the proposed project must be modified to work without such rights, or (2) the proposed project must be abandoned.
      • All letters of support must be attached to the full proposal and submitted no later than the stated full proposal submission deadline.
      • Any revisions to the proposed project due to failure to secure a letter of support must be completed prior to the stated full proposal submission deadline.

Successful Active Dissemination applications must include:

  • A completed Engagement Award: Dissemination Initiative LOI Supplemental Template.
  • Demonstration of an understanding of the definition of PCOR/CER.
  • Only eligible evidence for dissemination as defined under the section Evidence Eligible for Active Dissemination Projects above.
  • At the time of full proposal submission, a letter of support demonstrating acknowledgment and/or support from the PI—or another member of the original research team who played a significant role—of each PCORI-funded CER study whose published primary CER findings are being disseminated in the project (applicable for the dissemination of CER study results only).
  • For proposed evidence for dissemination, a critical review of the study details and findings for applicability, relevance, and potential impact of dissemination to your stakeholders.
  • 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 LOI development to dissemination of project results. Letters of support for the project and/or commitment to participate from patient and/or stakeholder communities are strongly encouraged and may be submitted with the full proposal.
  • A budget that reflects the time and contributions of all partners, including patients and stakeholders. Fair financial compensation demonstrates that patients, caregivers, and patient/caregiver organizations’ contributions to the project, including related commitments of time and effort, are valuable and valued. (See our Financial Compensation of Partners Framework and Budgeting for Engagement Activities for more information. Though these documents discuss compensation in research, the concepts are relevant for Engagement Award projects.) Budgets should account for all costs associated with proposed activities and note any in-kind support or external funding. Budget should include any expenses for translation or interpretation services that may be required. Applicants should keep personnel costs (applicant organization/institution staff) below 50 percent of the total project budget. However, higher personnel costs may be considered with strong justification included in application documents.
  • Importance of reaching the relevant stakeholders proposed as the target for dissemination.
  • The organization’s relationship to the relevant stakeholders and its experience and track record in bringing evidence to them. 
  • Which findings will be disseminated and why the findings are important to the relevant stakeholders proposed as the target for dissemination.
  • The intended impact of uptake of these findings by the relevant stakeholders.
  • The key messages and specific strategies proposed for dissemination to these relevant stakeholders and justification of the choice of strategies.
  • The reach of the proposed strategies (i.e., the number of people in each targeted group whose awareness and knowledge of the evidence disseminated will be meaningfully increased).
    • Reach should be contextualized as best as possible so that the overall impact is clear to reviewers.
  • Evaluation metrics for assessing the success of the active dissemination strategies.
  • Plans for sustainability and next steps after the project period has ended. Future funding from PCORI should not be assumed. If the project does not lend itself to sustained activities after the project period concludes, provide justification.

V. Project Evaluation

Applicants must include a completed Evaluation Reporting Tool as a deliverable at the end of the project period. The Evaluation Reporting Tool provides a template to collect information about Engagement Award projects that can help with the evaluation of the PCORI Engagement Award portfolio, as well as the evaluation of individual projects. This reporting tool should be taken into consideration during application development and uploaded at the end of the project period as a final deliverable. Awardees may use a different evaluation framework if there is one that is more aligned with their project, subject to PCORI approval. Applicants adopting such an approach must identify the proposed alternate evaluation framework in their application.

The goal of this reporting tool is to ensure a standard set of reported information for Engagement Award projects. Given the difficulty in applying metrics and a standard set of indicators around engagement best practices, this tool provides a baseline of outcomes to report on in Engagement Award projects.

At a minimum, evaluation plans should document the reach (in absolute numbers) of their dissemination effort among the relevant stakeholders and settings. Depending on the project, it will also be appropriate to document dissemination success, such as increases in knowledge or awareness of evidence among the target population. Dissemination projects aiming to increase motivation, use, and application of evidence should propose appropriate evaluation strategies for understanding the extent to which these goals were accomplished, using validated measures where available in, for example, pre- and post-tests, surveys, or interviews.

VI. Review Process

Letters of Intent (LOI) must be submitted by the stated deadline. LOIs will be screened for responsiveness to the call for applications and fit to program goals. PCORI will review LOIs within 60 calendar days of submission.

Full proposal submissions are by invitation only, after review and approval of the LOI, and must be submitted by the stated deadline. 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.

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 LOIs and full proposals.

Review Criteria:

  1. Program Fit
  2. Project Plan and Timeline
  3. Qualifications of the Project Lead, Personnel, and Organizational Capabilities
  4. Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan and Collaborators
  5. Past Performance
  6. Budget/Cost Proposal

For additional details on the review process, click here.

VII. How to Apply

  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 2022 Cycle Resources

Preparing Your LOI

Required LOI Templates

Preparing Your Full Proposal

Required Full Proposal Templates

Additional Applicant Resources

IX. Questions?

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


Research Fundamentals: Preparing You to Successfully Contribute to Research (A free on-demand training package on PCORI.org)

A promo image for the Building Effective Multi-Stakeholder Research Teams resource showing a group of people of different ethnicities seated at a table for a discussion.

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