Research Focus

Comparative Clinical Effectiveness Research (CER)

Studies that improve health or health care outcomes, including risks and benefits, of two or more approaches to health care

CER Methods and Infrastructure

Studies to improve the methods available for patient-centered CER  

Development of a large, highly representative electronic-data infrastructure called PCORnet®, The National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network, for improving the conduct of patient-centered CER

Topic Areas

We have current interests in research focused on Topic Themes that are informing focused funding opportunities over the next several funding cycles. Eight broad Topic Themes , approved by PCORI’s Board of Governors in July 2022, speak to health issues facing large numbers of people including children, youth, and older adults and address urgent topics such as violence and trauma, substance use, and mental and behavioral health, as well as widespread conditions including cardiovascular disease, pain management, and sleep health.

These themes joined four that were ongoing—improving outcomes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities; preventing maternal morbidity and mortality; COVID-19; and rare disease. Investigator-initiated research applications are welcome in addition to our focused funding interests.

Conditions Studied

We pay particular attention to:

  • Conditions that affect large numbers of people across a range of populations
  • Conditions that place a heavy burden on individuals, families, specific populations, and society
  • Rare diseases, which are difficult to study


  • Underrepresented racial and ethnic groups*
  • Low-income groups*
  • Women
  • Children (ages 0to 17 years)
  • Older adults (ages 65 years and older)
  • Residents of rural areas*
  • Individuals with special healthcare needs, including individuals with disabilities*
  • Individuals with multiple chronic diseases
  • Individuals with rare diseases
  • Individuals whose genetic makeup affects their medical outcomes
  • Patients with low health literacy or numeracy or limited English proficiency*
  • Gender and sexual minorities*
  • Veterans and members of the US Armed Forces and their families

*These groups are identified as populations of interest for the National Priorities for Health goal: Achieve Health Equity.


Private Sector

Public Sector

US Organizations

Must be recognized by the Internal Revenue Service

Foreign Organizations and Nondomestic Components of US Organizations

Foreign organizations and nondomestic components of US organizations must provide a thorough and thoughtful justification for the research’s ability to benefit the US healthcare system and must show that the engagement plans include US patients and stakeholders and are relevant to the US healthcare system.


Not permitted to apply

Posted: September 2014; Updated: July 2023

What's Happening at PCORI?

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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