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 eight topic themes that speak to everyday health issues facing large numbers of Americans today. Additionally, PCORI also seeks applications related to four ongoing key topics—improving outcomes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities; preventing maternal morbidity and mortality; COVID-19; and rare disease, the first two representing ongoing priorities named in PCORI’s 2019 authorizing legislation. 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

Populations of Interest

We pay particular attention to a number of populations in making research funding decisions:

  • Racial and ethnic groups
  • Older adults
  • Low-income
  • Residents of rural areas
  • Women
  • Children
  • Individuals with special healthcare needs, including individuals with disabilities, individuals with multiple chronic diseases, individuals with rare diseases, and individuals whose genetic makeup affects their medical outcomes
  • Patients with low health literacy/numeracy and limited English proficiency
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) populations/persons
  • Veterans and members of the armed forces and their families


Private Sector

  • Nonprofit research organizations
  • For-profit research organizations

Public Sector

  • Universities and colleges
  • Hospitals and healthcare systems
  • Laboratories and manufacturers
  • Units of state, local, or federal government

US Organizations

Must be recognized by the Internal Revenue Service

Foreign Organizations and Nondomestic Components of US Organizations

May apply if:

  • There is demonstrable benefit to the US healthcare system, and the essential scientific needs will be met by conducting the study outside the United States or having the study conducted by non-US research organizations
  • US efforts in the area of patient-centered research can be clearly shown, and the engagement plans include US patients and stakeholders, and are relevant to US healthcare system


Not permitted to apply

Posted: September 2014; Updated: December 2022

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.

Subscribe to PCORI Emails


Hand pointing to email icon