News Release

PCORI launches up to $36 million initiative to advance the science of engagement in health research

Initial PCORI Funding Announcement offering up to $4.5 million seeks proposals focused on measures and techniques for effective engagement

Business Announcement

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute

WASHINGTON, DC – The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has launched a three-year initiative offering up to $36 million to strengthen and enhance the evidence base on engagement in research with the posting of an initial Science of Engagement PCORI Funding Announcement (PFA) that offers up to $4.5 million for foundational research.


Since its establishment in 2010, PCORI has accelerated the movement toward participatory research that seeks to involve the ultimate end users of study results – patients, their caregivers, and many other stakeholders – as partners in the research process. However, little systematic evidence of which engagement methods are most effective exists.


Strengthening the nation’s patient-centered clinical research enterprise requires evidence about engagement approaches in research, effective ways to measure meaningful engagement, and more robust methods for conducting engaged research.


“We look forward to working with researchers, patients, and stakeholders to advance the nascent science of engagement field,” said Nakela L. Cook, MD, MPH. “This vital work is central to PCORI’s mission. It is a natural evolution of our decade of funding patient-centered research and will contribute to further development of an evidence base to support more strategic approaches to promoting robust engagement in research and greater inclusion and diversity in health research.”


The initial Science of Engagement PFA posted this week seeks to fund studies that focus on two foundational areas: developing and/or validating measures that assess the structure, process, and outcomes of engagement; and the development and testing of engagement techniques to generate evidence on the most effective engagement approaches, particularly for underrepresented populations.

PCORI welcomes a broad range of potential study designs, including comparative effectiveness studies, observational studies, studies that take advantage of naturally occurring variation in engagement methods, and mixed method studies. In addition, PCORI welcomes the use of innovative methods and study designs from a variety of disciplines. Particular priority will be given to measure development/validation projects that will build on prior work and development.


PCORI anticipates future Science of Engagement PFAs will advance evidence regarding the mechanisms by which engagement techniques contribute to research studies’ processes and outcomes and test which approaches are most effective. PCORI also anticipates building a toolbox of validated measures of engagement.


Applicants selected for the initial funding opportunity will participate in a Science of Engagement Learning Network that will provide opportunities to engage in peer learning, share expertise and experiences with one another, support growth of the Science of Engagement research community, and offer lessons learned to the field. This PCORI learning network will launch after awards are made in Spring 2023.


Details of the Science of Engagement PFA and how to contact PCORI if interested in this opportunity are available on PCORI’s website. In addition, an applicant town hall on July 19 from 12 pm to 1 pm (ET) will provide an overview and information applicants may need to submit a responsive application. Letters of Intent for this PFA are due August 9 by 5 pm (ET) and applications will be due November 15 by 5 pm (ET).



The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions. PCORI is committed to continuously seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work.

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