How do we monitor programs that spur engagement in research?

Building a coding database of PCORI’s program portfolio


The Eugene Washington Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Engagement Award program seeks to help patients and other communities become more involved in all aspects of the research process, from topic selection to dissemination of findings. These Engagement Awards enhance PCORI’s research portfolio by building a community of patients and interested parties who can partner with researchers now and in the future.

With more than 600 awards focused on a variety of stakeholders, health topics, engagement strategies, and regions, the Engagement Award program relies on timely analysis of the program portfolio to identify portfolio gaps and topics for future funding opportunities.


Westat developed a database to classify Engagement Award projects on multiple dimensions to help PCORI sift through all its information. The Engagement Award database contains categorized information from letters of intent to applications and letters of rejection.

PCORI requires continuous updates to the database as a strategy to track applicants’ intended projects, methodologies, and stakeholder groups and to examine trends in funded projects in the portfolio over time.

Westat is building on earlier work for PCORI to build a more comprehensive coding—or taxonomy—system to facilitate description of the program portfolio to internal staff and external stakeholders.


With the data readily available, PCORI can better understand what it has funded in aggregate, where gaps in fundings remain, and how to fill those gaps.

This project was completed by Insight Policy Research before acquisition by Westat.


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