WASHINGTON, June 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) today launched a funding initiative designed to grow a national community of patients, clinicians, researchers, and other healthcare stakeholders who will advance patient-centered outcomes research. The new PCORI Engagement Awards program will offer targeted funding to dozens of groups of patients, clinicians and other front-line caregivers, and others across the healthcare community who are interested in supporting the expansion of patient- centered outcomes research (PCOR) and implementation of its results. It will do so by supporting projects to enhance knowledge of PCOR and its benefits; training to foster partnerships between patients, other healthcare stakeholders, and scientists that can lead to research projects; and efforts to implement results of the research in clinical practice. As the first step in this initiative, PCORI will invest up to $1.2 million for a training program to build research capacity and fund a series of Pipeline to Proposal Awards. The initial Pipeline to Proposal Awards of up to $15,000 each will help patients and other non-researchers interested in PCOR begin to form groups capable of partnering with clinicians, researchers, and other healthcare stakeholders. The new program fulfills a key aspect of PCORI's mission to facilitate active involvement of patients and other stakeholders in research efforts designed to answer unresolved medical and health questions faced by patients and those who care for them through studies comparing the effectiveness of different care options. "Our new Engagement Awards are a key way for us to foster an understanding of best ways to use patient-centered outcomes research to improve healthcare practice, while supporting the passion and efforts of patients, family caregivers, advocacy organizations, clinicians, and many others who are eager to see more health research focused on answering the questions of paramount concern to them," said Anne Beal, MD, MPH, PCORI's Deputy Executive Director and Chief Officer for Engagement. "The Pipeline to Proposal Awards are our first set of Engagement Awards, and this program will provide a channel for us to help key organizations that wish to facilitate the type of research we support but are not typically engaged in such efforts," she said. "It will allow us and others to build a national patient-centered research community from the local level up, as well as to unite efforts of communities of interest at the national level."