Engaging patients, caregivers, clinicians, insurers, and other healthcare community members is at the core of PCORI’s patient-centered approach to research funding. Our goal is to support research that will provide reliable, useful information to help people make informed healthcare decisions and improve patient care and outcomes.

As of April 2024, PCORI has awarded more than $4.5 billion to support more than 2,400 research studies and related projects, including those that support the methods and capacity for conducting research.

Comparative Clinical Effectiveness Research

We primarily fund comparative clinical effectiveness research, or CER. These studies compare the benefits and harms of two or more treatments, clinical strategies, or other approaches to health care. The type of CER we support, patient-centered outcomes research, or PCOR, focuses on outcomes that patients and other healthcare stakeholders tell us are important. Our awardees use various study designs in their research.

Key features of the research PCORI funds include: 

  • Compares at least two healthcare options 
  • Focuses on outcomes that are meaningful to patients 
  • Engages patients and other stakeholders at every stage 
  • Studies benefits and harms of care delivered in real-world settings 
  • Adheres to PCORI's Methodology Standards Is likely to improve current clinical practice 


We support collaboration with other research funders to influence others to engage in patient-centered outcomes studies. Such partnerships also can leverage expertise across the research community to maximize the impact of PCORI’s investments.

Advancing CER Methods

Another crucial part of our work is developing and improving methods of patient-centered CER. As part of that effort, PCORI’s Methodology Committee has developed standards for all of the research we fund. These standards represent basic practices in planning, designing, and conducting studies to ensure patient-centeredness and engagement throughout the research process.

Evaluating Our Progress

As proponents of evidence-based practice, we’re eager to learn what works best to ensure that the research we fund produces useful information that leads to improved health outcomes. Learn how we monitor our progress. Through our evaluation activities, we also discover how we can improve our work and assess the impact of our patient-centered approach.

Posted: March 2017; Updated: April 2024

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