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DENVER, Colo. – The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) today released its first primary research funding announcements to support comparative clinical effectiveness research that will give patients and those who care for them the ability to make better-informed health care decisions.

PCORI will award $120 million this year for innovative projects that effectively incorporate patients and stakeholders in research teams and address the areas of focus of PCORI’s National Priorities for Research and Research Agenda. PCORI previously announced the approval of 50 Pilot Project Program awards, totaling $30 million over two years, to researchers in 24 states and the District of Columbia.

“Today marks a major milestone in our work as we build a portfolio of patient-centered research that will provide patients and those who care for them better information about health care decisions they face,” said PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, M.D., M.P.H. “Our funding announcements reflect PCORI’s commitment to a patient-centered research agenda, emphasizing the inclusion of patients and caregivers at all stages of the research.”

The PCORI Funding Announcements (PFAs) make clear that successful applicants must have research teams with patients, caregivers, and practicing clinicians actively engaged throughout the process, from generating research questions to conducting research and using the results to understand and address patient needs. This requirement helps ensure that the research remains true to the interests of the patient populations that will be affected by it.

Applications will be evaluated for alignment with eight PCORI review criteria that arise from PCORI’s authorizing legislation.  These include: impact or burden of the condition(s) being studied; innovativeness of the research proposal and its potential to impact care practices and improve outcomes; inclusiveness of different populations; patient-centeredness of the research question, choices of outcomes, and strategies for inclusion of patients and stakeholders in the research; potential for the research to improve the efficiency of health care; use of rigorous study design and analytic methods; composition and experience of the research team; and efficient use of research resources.

Four funding announcements, involving up to $96 million in funding, were released today. They correspond to the first four areas of focus outlined in PCORI’s National Priorities for Research and Research Agenda:

  • Assessment of Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options– for projects that address critical decisions that patients, their caregivers and clinicians face with too little information
  • Improving Healthcare Systems – for projects that address critical decisions that face health care systems, the patients and caregivers who rely on them, and the clinicians who work within them
  • Communication and Dissemination – for projects that address critical elements in the communication and dissemination process among patients, their caregivers and clinicians
  • Addressing Disparities – for projects that will inform the choice of strategies to eliminate disparities

A fifth PFA on Accelerating Patient-Centered and Methodological Research, involving up to $24 million in funding, will be issued during the summer. All application materials can be downloaded from the “Funding Opportunities” section of PCORI’s website.

In addition to requiring meaningful patient and caregiver involvement, PCORI will require applicants to include a dissemination and implementation assessment, which describes the potential facilitators and barriers to diffusion and implementation of study findings (if findings warrant dissemination).  Funding decisions also will support policies that promote transparency, replication, and reproducibility in research, essential for building confidence in the accuracy of research findings. PCORI will require the sharing of study documentation, so researchers may replicate findings in other populations. For large studies, PCORI will require that applicants propose a plan for sharing of de-identified data, so results may be reproduced by others in the same dataset.

Before releasing the funding applications, PCORI’s Board of Governors approved May 21 the final version of PCORI’s National Priorities for Research and Research Agenda, as required by law before primary research funding can begin. The approved agenda contains important revisions made in response to 15 major themes that emerged from more than 450 public comments.

“Our priorities and agenda capture the broad areas where more research is needed,” said PCORI Board Chair Eugene Washington, M.D., M.Sc. “We look forward to continuing our work with patients and stakeholders to refine and define our areas of focus to make the agenda more specific over time.”


The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is the nation’s leading funder of patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER). By comparing two or more health or healthcare approaches, CER generates evidence that helps people make better-informed decisions and improves healthcare delivery and outcomes. PCORI takes a holistic approach to its work, ensuring that patients and other health decision makers are engaged as partners throughout the research process, supporting dissemination and implementation of results in practice and strengthening clinical research infrastructure to advance patient-centered CER. PCORI is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress.

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