Funding Opportunities Available for Pain Research

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute awarded $400 million in research funds last year alone.

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — Funding opportunities are available for pain research, and the opening keynote address held here at the American Pain Society Meeting provided some clues as to how researchers and clinicians may access those funds.

Joseph V. Selby, MD, MPH, Executive Director of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) said that last year alone, the institute awarded some $400 million in funding to clinical comparative effectiveness research and is one the largest funder of this type of research.

“This is our effort combined with others, including NIH and other organizations. We’ve funded 11 clinical data research networks […] to build comprehensive cohorts,” Selby said. “There are also 18 patient-powered research networks, and our job is to push the patient-powered research networks and clinical data research networks together to improve the nation’s capacity to conduct clinical research more efficiently by creating a large, highly representative, national patient-centered clinical research network.”

PCORI focuses on several priority areas, including: assessment of prevention, diagnosis and treatment options; improving health care systems, communication and dissemination research; addressing disparities in healthcare, and accelerating methodological research.

Selby outlined PCOR’s research review criteria, which he said that the research could:

  1. Affect the condition of healthy individuals and populations;
  2. Have the potential for the study to improve overall healthcare and outcomes;
  3. Have technical merit;
  4. Be patient-centered; and finally that the project will focus on
  5. Patient and stakeholder engagement, involved from the beginning.

PCORI is currently evaluating about 22 pain studies they have dubbed “high priority.” Studies currently being considered focus on people at risk for opioid substance abuse, back pain that transitions into chronic back pain, migraine and headache, and integrating mental and behavioral health services into primary care.

To learn more about PCORI, or to apply for research funding, visit


  1. Selby JV. Keynote Address. Presented at: APS 2015. May 13-16, 2015. Palm Springs, Calif.