This PCORI Funding Announcement (PFA) invites applications for high-quality comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) projects that will address critical decisions faced by patients, caregivers, clinicians, and stakeholders across the health and healthcare community and for which there is insufficient evidence. Investigators should propose an individual-level or cluster randomized controlled trial of significant scale and scope for this PFA. The proposed trials should address critical decisional dilemmas that require important new evidence about the comparative clinical effectiveness of available interventions. Proposed studies should compare interventions that already have established evidence of efficacy or are in widespread use. Clinical interventions (such as medications, diagnostic tests, or procedures) and delivery system interventions are appropriate for these studies.

This funding announcement anticipates that proposed research projects will require two phases of funding. The initial phase (feasibility phase) of funding supports a distinct feasibility phase intended for purposes of study refinement, infrastructure establishment, stakeholder engagement, and feasibility testing of study operations, including the ability to recruit and enroll participants successfully. Using the feasibility phase to establish evidence of an intervention’s efficacy is not permitted. Approval to proceed to the second phase will be contingent on achieving specific milestones and deliverables established for the feasibility phase.

Meaningful stakeholder engagement is viewed as an essential component of funded Phased Large Awards for Comparative Effectiveness Research (PLACER) studies, and the feasibility phase provides an opportunity to further develop engagement plans and activities. Applicants’ use of multiple approaches that occur along a continuum of engagement from input to shared leadership are encouraged.

Considering the scale, complexity, and scope of trials being solicited under this PFA, PCORI requires that applications include shared trial leadership by a data coordinating center to provide an independent role in study leadership, advising on the analytical, statistical, and data management aspects of both study phases. PCORI also requires that applications include experienced engagement leadership with demonstrated experience in patient and stakeholder engagement in large research studies or projects. Investigators may request up to $2 million in direct costs for a feasibility phase up to 18 months in duration, with up to $20 million in direct costs for continuation to a full-scale study phase up to five years in duration. Total direct costs for the full proposal should not exceed $22 million.

Key Dates

Online System Opens
Applicant Town Hall
View Event
Letter of Intent Deadline
Application Deadline
Merit Review
Awards Announced
Earliest Start Date

Funds and Project Period

Funds Available Up To
$200 million
Total Direct Costs
$22 million
-- Feasibility phase: $2 million
-- Full-scale study phase: $20 million
Maximum Project Period
6.5 years
-- Feasibility phase: 1.5 years
-- Full-scale study phase: 5 years


Award Types