PCORI is a leading funder of patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) and issues PCORI funding announcements several times per year.

PCORI’s research funding process follows a lifecycle that includes creating the funding announcement, applying, reviewing applications and making award decisions.

Descriptions of each step within this process are highlighted below:

  • PCORI Funding Announcement (PFA) Development & Release: Employing consultation across health and healthcare communities, PCORI develops the content and structure of research funding opportunities and releases them through the PCORI website to potential applicants. PCORI Funding Announcements (PFAs) solicit applications both broadly – for meritorious CER projects in any area of health or healthcare – and in focused approaches where specific areas of interest are expressed.
  • Letter of Intent (LOI) Receipt and Review: Applicants submit LOIs according to LOI requirements available on the PCORI website and in PFA documents. PCORI evaluates LOIs for administrative compliance and programmatic responsiveness according to standardized processes for all LOIs. Applicants are notified of PCORI decisions to accept or decline projects advancing to the full application phase.
  • Full Application Receipt: Applicants submit applications according to PCORI submission instructions and application requirements described in specific PFA documents. PCORI reviews applications for administrative compliance and responsiveness to programmatic requirements. Applications that meet application requirements are moved forward to merit review.
  • Online Merit Review: PCORI conducts an application evaluation process called “merit review,” known in other settings as “peer review” or “scientific peer review.” Merit review brings together external experts including patients, clinicians, researchers, and others to provide evaluations of application merits. PCORI identifies and mitigates any conflicts of interest in merit review. In online merit review, reviewers provide evaluations in advance of a review panel discussion.
  • Merit Review Panel Discussions: Following online merit review, applications considered to be of high merit are scheduled for panel discussion and full panel scoring. All applicants are provided with detailed summary statements that share feedback from merit review to support successful application resubmission for applicants that are not funded.
  • Programmatic Review: PCORI conducts PCORI Information Requests (PIRs) whereby questions are sent to applicants to clarify questions raised within merit review evaluations or other programmatic review considerations as described in the PFA. The PIRs serve to further inform programmatic funding recommendations. After completion of the PIR process, PCORI develops proposed recommendations for funding based on merit, programmatic alignment and portfolio composition, potential for impact, and incorporation of PCORI Methodology Standards.
  • Selection Committee Review: PCORI's Standing Selection Committee, or a Special Selection Committee, is composed of members from PCORI's Board of Governors. The Committee reviews the proposed recommendations for funding to determine that appropriate processes have been followed and appropriate considerations made. If concurring with proposed recommendations, the Committee recommends approval of funding to the PCORI Executive Director. 
  • Executive Director Approves Awards: The PCORI Executive Director, with authority as delegated by the PCORI Board of Governors, reviews the funding recommendations and, in alignment with the Board-approved Commitment Plan, makes final determinations on funding.

Posted: March 2024

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The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute sends weekly emails about opportunities to apply for funding, newly funded research studies and engagement projects, results of our funded research, webinars, and other new information posted on our site.

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