CHICAGO, May 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has approved 51 new awards, totaling $88.6 million over three years, to fund patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) projects under the first four areas of its National Priorities for Research and Research Agenda. This brings the total that PCORI has awarded for projects addressing these priorities to $129.3 million. PCORI also has committed another $30 million in funding for a series of pilot projects. The projects approved Monday May 6 during a public meeting of PCORI's Board of Governors include studies of how to best care for people with kidney disease, certain cancers, obesity, asthma, diabetes, and various mental health conditions. Other projects will explore ways to support patient decision-making, reduce specific health disparities, and improve health care delivery systems. "PCORI and our merit reviewers believe that patients and those who care for them will greatly benefit from the comparative information these projects will provide," said PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, MD, MPH. "We're very pleased that we were able to double the amount of research awarded in our inaugural funding cycle thanks to the number of high-quality proposals we received. We look forward to working with researchers, patients, caregivers, clinicians and others within the healthcare community, to build a robust portfolio of patient-centered, comparative effectiveness research." The awards are part of PCORI's second cycle of primary research funding, which opened for submissions in September 2012, and were selected from among more than 400 completed applications. All were approved by the Board pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and completion of a formal award contract. This latest round of awards, like the initial round announced in December 2012, are based on the broad set of PCORI Funding Announcements (PFAs) released the previous May. The approved projects were selected through a competitive review process in which scientists, patients, caregivers, and other stakeholders helped to evaluate proposals on the basis of scientific merit, how well they engage patients and other stakeholders, their methodological rigor, and how well they fit within PCORI's national research priorities.