PCORI Names Challenge Winner

On June 3, 2013, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) announced the winners of the “PCORI Challenge’, a competition to find innovative ways to connect patients and researchers as partners to advance patient-centered Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER). 

The PCORI Challenge prizes are for both concepts and more fully developed prototypes of matching tools or systems. The tools could effectively help patients and researchers interested in collaborating on CER find one another and work together.

The winner in the prototype category and recipient of a $40,000 prize is “WellSpringboard” developed by a team based at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. “WellSpringboard” is a web-based crowd-sourcing platform that lets users propose, endorse, and pledge funds for research, and enables researchers to apply for funding to conduct studies on the topics that have met their fundraising goals.

ACTONNECT, a web-based search engine and interface took first place and a $10,000 prize for the best concept for a matching system. ACTONNECT aims to enable patients, clinicians, researchers, and others to conduct searches of health information obtained from dozens of patient forums and sites and then share their results graphically.

ACTONNECT is being developed by a team from Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, Drexel University, University of Wisconsin, Scripps Research Institute, and Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China.

In May PCORI opened its second year of funding for patient-centered CER and plans to award up to $81 million in this round of funding. With this funding opportunity, plus previous calls for research proposals, PCORI plans to commit at least $355 million in support for patient-centered CER in 2013.

Proposals are sought for five focal areas of PCORI’s National Priorities for Research. These five areas need to:

  • Assess prevention, diagnosis, and treatment options
  • Improve healthcare systems
  • Communicate and disseminate information
  • Address disparities
  • Accelerate patient-centered outcomes research and methodological research


PCORI is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress in 2010 to fund research that will provide patients, caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better informed healthcare decisions. Announcements are available in the Funding Opportunities section of PCORI’s website at www.pcori.org.

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