The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) plans to award up to $21 million in fiscal year 2021 as part of the Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Awards. These awards are for research support. This program does not fund research studies.

The Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Awards support 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: Stakeholder Convening Support offers funding for multi-stakeholder convenings, meetings, and conferences that align with PCORI’s mission and facilitate expansion of PCOR/CER through collaboration around such efforts.

Key Information for the Engagement Awards October 2020 Funding Cycle

  • Applicants should consider alternative plans for convening should an in-person meeting not be feasible. 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.
  • The contract start date should be planned for no earlier than June 1, 2021. This is one month later than previously stated.

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Key Dates

Online System Opens
September 1, 2020
Letter of Intent Deadline
October 1, 2020
Application Deadline
December 1, 2020

Funds and Project Period

Total Costs

Award total costs may not exceed $100,000 (Direct + Indirect)

Maximum Project Period

1 year


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

I. General Requirements for Engagement Awards

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 applications. For information related to administrative and technical requirements for LOI and application submission, please consult the Engagement Award Submission Instructions.

Engagement Award Priorities

An infographic outlining the Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Awards Program Framework

Click the image to view a larger version

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 PCOR/CER, PCORI, and the broader PCOR community. We are committed to using and broadly sharing this information.

Categories of Nonresponsiveness

LOIs and applications will be considered nonresponsive for an Engagement Award if they propose:

  • Projects solely intended to increase patient engagement in health care 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, 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 on social determinants of health, with no focus on patient-centered outcomes research or comparative clinical effectiveness research
  • Planning for dissemination or dissemination initiatives without including PCORI-funded research or related products
  • Implementation of PCORI findings in a clinical practice setting (PCORI will fund dedicated implementation efforts through the Limited PCORI Funding Announcement: Implementation of PCORI-Funded Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Results)
  • Projects or meetings without a clear focus on patient-centered outcomes research or comparative clinical effectiveness research

Avoiding Redundancy

PCORI encourages potential applicants to review funded projects at We intend to balance our funded portfolio 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 in the conduct of research. This applies to all individuals listed as key personnel in the application. The policy and FAQs are available on the NIH website.

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II. Stakeholder Convening Support

The Engagement Award Program is now accepting Letters of Inquiry for Engagement Award: Stakeholder Convening Support, a research support—not research—funding opportunity, for projects up to one year in duration, and up to $100,000 in total costs.

  • For the October 2020 Engagement Awards Funding Cycle, the contract start date should be planned for no earlier than June 1, 2021. This is one month later than previously stated.

Funding Priorities

Through this award, PCORI seeks to fund projects designed by organizations and communities to hold multi-stakeholder convenings, meetings, and conferences that include a combination of patients, caregivers, researchers, clinicians, purchasers, payers, health system leaders, and/or other stakeholders. These convenings will have a focus on, and commitment to, supporting collaboration around PCOR/CER. 

Convenings supported under this funding opportunity should be designed with the active involvement of patients, community groups, and/or other stakeholder organizations. Projects should bring together diverse stakeholders around a central focus or shared priority that unifies stakeholders (e.g., geography, health condition, population) to explore issues related to PCOR/CER, or communicate PCORI-funded research results to targeted end-user audiences.

PCORI is receptive to LOIs and applications to the Engagement Award: Stakeholder Convening Support encompassing a wide range of research support project topics. For example, projects may explore virtual/distanced methods of engagement or may include activities to generate new questions and evidence needs around stakeholder groups related to COVID-19 and its impact on health.

Potential Convening Focus Areas

Convenings should include one or more of the following priority/focus areas:

  • Facilitating Discussion Around Development of Research Topics, Questions, and Engagement Plans for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research
    • Addresses issues of major importance in the field of PCOR/CER engagement or facilitates development of new approaches.
    • Explores or identifies potential topics for PCOR/CER with patients, caregivers, researchers, or other relevant stakeholders. Convening organizers must identify a clear audience for the topic identification exercise.
  • Sharing Engagement Methods and Fostering Partnerships
    • Transfers knowledge about effective and/or evidence-based engagement methods in PCOR/CER to wider audiences.
    • Fosters PCOR/CER-focused multi-stakeholder collaborations by developing partnerships for future engagement in PCOR/CER and/or exploring new opportunities for knowledge transfer, dissemination, and/or implementation.
  • Dissemination of Research Findings
    • Through a convening, communicates findings from PCORI-funded studies—on their own or as part of the body of existing evidence relevant to the PCORI-funded research findings—to a targeted, essential end-user audience. Convening organizers must address the proposed convening activities as part of an essential strategy for increasing the uptake of findings that have important potential impact on clinical practice, including the important role of the proposed target end-user audience.
    • Identifies studies of interest for dissemination and developing strategies for future targeted dissemination.
    • Promotes active dissemination of PCORI-funded research results to targeted end users to support the uptake of evidence.
    • Shares information about health condition- or population-specific areas in the PCORI-funded research portfolio (active or completed) to solicit feedback and suggestions for future research.
    • Unlike the dissemination opportunities offered under the Engagement Award: Capacity Building PFA and the Engagement Award: Dissemination Initiative PFA, dissemination under this PFA is focused principally on a convening or series of convenings as the primary method for communicating the research findings.

Stakeholder Involvement

A diverse array of relevant patient and community stakeholders who have a connection to, expertise in, or lived experience related to, the focus area and PCOR/CER should attend the convenings, and projects should include integrated multi-stakeholder leadership and planning teams.

It is expected that representatives of stakeholder groups involved will be engaged throughout the duration of the project period including development of the proposal, planning the event, participating in the convening, evaluation, and dissemination. We also encourage applicants to identify PCORI awardees and/or project partners who can share the project and its results, as well as PCOR/CER and engagement strategies to further expand the network of stakeholders knowledgeable and equipped to participate in PCOR/CER efforts.

Letters of support from stakeholders are welcome and encouraged.

Project Outputs

We expect that projects selected under this funding opportunity will further PCORI’s goals of promoting the relevance of research to target audiences and the uptake of research results by end users. PCORI is committed to using and sharing successful approaches. The information and tools generated by Engagement Awards must be of interest or use beyond the applicant’s community groups/organizations in order to appeal to others doing related work. As such, the tools and information produced through Engagement Awards may be made publicly available to ensure their broader applicability and impact.

All convenings must produce at least one deliverable that seeks to move collaborators closer to participation in and/or dissemination of PCOR/CER. In addition, applicants are expected to develop and share a summary of the convening that will provide direction for future action. Finally, it is expected that sustainability plans will be developed to further the goals/objectives developed through the convening. Some examples of appropriate deliverables are listed below:

  • Strategic plans and/or roadmaps for charting future directions and PCOR/CER priorities as related to the convening’s goals, objectives, and key findings
  • Stakeholder engagement approaches for continuing to actively engage in/partner around PCOR/CER beyond the project period
  • Summaries of research topic identification and/or prioritization processes, as well as research agendas
  • Reports of strategies for disseminating research findings and ensuring the effectiveness and success of proposed efforts

PCORI’s Updated Research Priority Areas

PCORI’s reauthorizing legislation in 2019 included two new research priority areas: intellectual and developmental disabilities and maternal mortality. These additional priority areas provide more focused opportunities for engaging diverse stakeholders and facilitating patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) that is critical in understanding and addressing the needs of those impacted by these conditions.

While PCORI will accept Engagement Award: Stakeholder Convening Support LOIs for convenings on any topic, this funding cycle welcomes projects highlighting either of the two special areas of interest around intellectual and developmental disabilities and maternal mortality.

Convening Around Dissemination of Research Findings: Evidence Available

The following sources of PCORI-funded evidence may serve as the basis for convening around dissemination of research findings under this award:

Applicants must identify the title(s) of the completed PCORI-funded research study (including the institution name for identification purposes, the hyperlink from PCORI’s website, and the specific evidence that will be the focus of the convening around dissemination of research findings) in the LOI and application.

All evidence that is the focus of an Engagement Award must have been published (comparative clinical effectiveness research results) or posted on PCORI’s website (the other sources) by the LOI receipt date.

  • All applicants must also include as part of their application (if invited) acknowledgment and/or support from the Principal Investigator (PI)—or another member of the original research team who played a significant role—of each PCORI-funded study whose published findings are being disseminated in the project, demonstrated by additional written letters of support (applicable for the dissemination of CER study results only).

Post Meeting: Project Evaluation and Sharing Findings

All proposed projects should detail a description and justification of the methods used to conduct the convening, as well as evaluation plans. PCORI offers a set of standardized metrics for all awardees under this initiative to consider for inclusion in their project plans (see Evaluation Reporting Tool). Supplementary evaluation focused on knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer is allowable and encouraged.

It is expected that efforts to share convening learnings and deliverables also will comprise all of the following dissemination-focused activities/considerations:

  • Strategies to distribute the outcomes of the meeting as well as any outputs developed as a result of the meeting within and beyond the contract period
  • Use of evidence-based methods for effective communication and uptake of findings
  • Patient and stakeholder involvement in sharing outcomes and outputs to their community through self-determined channels
  • Academic and community-relevant network focus for these efforts

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 Awards that can help with evaluation of our portfolio, as well as evaluation of individual projects.​ This reporting tool should be taken into consideration during proposal development and uploaded at the end of the project period with the Final Deliverable Milestone. Awardees may use a different evaluation framework if there is one more aligned with their project proposal, subject to PCORI approval. Applicants adopting such an approach must identify the alternate evaluation framework in their application.

The goal of this reporting tool is to ensure a standard set of reported information for Engagement Awards. 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 the engagement effort among the targeted end users and settings.

Examples of Project Ideas

Examples of projects of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A convening of a consortium of institutions proficient in engagement methods to share their usage and adaptations and to train other institutions in the methodology. For example, institutions proficient in the engagement studio method may wish to hold a mock engagement studio with actual participants from previously held engagement studios as part of the training.  Deliverables produced include a report and any related resources (videos, tip sheets) on how they approached sharing and transferring knowledge about engagement methods to wider audiences, including methods for how knowledge transfer is evaluated with participants.
  • A convening of engagement coordinators on funded projects focused on preparing under-represented communities to participate as partners in research. For example, a coordinator of engagement activities for several funded studies focused on Latino health convenes a meeting with other engagement coordinators and their stakeholder partners to train them to lead future engagement efforts. Deliverables produced include proceedings and next steps (a road map)a facilitation guide for holding this type of discussion, recruitment/outreach guidance for gathering this type of group, train-the-trainer resources for replication in other stakeholder communities, and reflections on what went well/how this could be done better.
  • A convening of a group that specializes in engaging LGBTQA+ communities around health and research to plan for the dissemination of study results of interest. PCORI-funded researchers and stakeholder partners are invited, plus professional societies and payers. Deliverables produced include the topic/study prioritization processpresentation materials, activity guides for dissemination sessions(s), and train-the-trainer resources for replication in other stakeholder communities.
  • A convening of patients, clinicians, and regional representatives of medical societies and payer organizations located in a region or state to review findings from PCORI-funded studies and identify channels to promote dissemination and uptake. Three regional meetings with different local leaders are held within the area. Deliverables produced include the topic/study prioritization processpresentation materials, activity guides for dissemination sessions(s), and train-the-trainer resources for replication in other geographic regions.

Submitting a Successful Application

Successful applications will address the address the funding priorities described above and include:

  • Applicants should consider alternative plans for convening should an in-person meeting not be feasible. 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.
  • The following required milestones/deliverables:
    • Convening Date
      • This milestone should be entered with the date of the planned convening. Enter multiple milestones if the proposed project has multiple convenings planned.
    • Draft Meeting Materials
      • This deliverable should be submitted one to three months prior to the convening. Draft meeting materials may include agendas, participant lists, and presentations.
    • Final Meeting Materials
      • This deliverable should be submitted at the time of the convening or during the month after the convening. Final meeting materials may include agendas, participant lists, and presentations.
    • Lay Conference Summary
      • This deliverable is required to be submitted within 90 days after the convening. The applicant is required to provide a two- to three-page meeting summary report, written in lay terms, for posting on the PCORI website.
    • All convenings must also produce at least one deliverable that seeks to move collaborators closer to participation in and/or dissemination of PCOR/CER.
  • Evaluation metrics for assessing the success of engagement strategies (see Evaluation section below).
  • Plans for sustainability 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.
  • If using or adopting a PCORI-funded engagement tool or resource:
    • Description of the engagement tool(s) or resource(s) selected and justification for its continued and expanded use. Information about prior use/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 should be provided.
    • Approval to use and, if applicable, adapt tool(s) and resource(s) from the relevant copyright owner of the tool(s) and/or resource(s) in the form of a written letter of support. This will typically be from the awardee institution of the original PCORI Award project team. The relevant owner must grant the applicant rights to the engagement tool(s)/resource(s) sufficient to carry out the project.
  • If convening around dissemination of research findings:

Acknowledgment and/or support from the Principal Investigator (PI)—or another member of the original research team who played a significant role—of each PCORI-funded study whose published findings are being disseminated in the project, demonstrated by additional written letters of support (applicable for the dissemination of CER study results only).


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III. Review Process

Letters of Inquiry (LOI) should be submitted by the stated deadline. Full proposal submissions are by invitation only, after review and approval of the LOI. Letters of Inquiry will be screened for responsiveness to the call for applications and fit to program goals. Only those selected will be permitted to submit full applications. LOIs will be reviewed within 60 calendar days of submission. A full proposal, submitted upon invitation only, should be submitted within 40 calendar days of receiving the invitation. PCORI may request additional information from the applicant after the initial review of the full proposal. PCORI aims to provide a final decision on the full proposal, via email, within 90 calendar days of receipt. If the full proposal is awarded, a PCORI staff member will coordinate arrangements to begin contracting negotiations. Typically, contract negotiations take about 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 Letters of Inquiry (LOI) and applications.

Review Criteria:

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

For additional details on the review process, click here.

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IV. Applicant Templates

  • Biosketch Template
  • Board of Directors Template
  • Budget Justification Template (One-Year Project)
  • Budget Template (One-Year Project)
  • Project Deliverable/Milestones Template (One-Year Project)
  • Project Workplan and Timeline

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V. Applicant Resources


  • Stakeholder Convening Support PFA (PDF)
  • Stakeholder Convening Support LOI Question Guide
  • Submission Instructions
  • Submission Checklist
  • PCORI Online: Pre-award User Guides
  • Evaluation Reporting Tool Template
  • Pre-Award LOI Cheat Sheet (Updated September 2020)
  • Pre-Award Application Cheat Sheet (Updated November 2020)

Web Resources

  • Applicant FAQs
  • Review Process
  • Applicant Webinar: September 1, 2020
  • Applicant Office Hours: September 14, 2020
  • Funded Projects Portfolio: Engagement in Research

VI. Questions?

If you have any additional questions, please contact PCORI at or (202) 370-9312. PCORI will provide a response within three business days.

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