Predoctoral Fellowship in Value Assessment-Health Outcomes Research
The PhRMA Foundation’s Predoctoral Fellowship in Value Assessment-Health Outcomes Research (VA-HOR) is designed to support promising students (U.S. and non-U.S. citizens) during advanced stages of training and thesis research in value assessment and health outcomes research.
Funding: $25,000 per year in stipend support for up to 2 years
Funding may begin as early as July 1, 2023, or as late as December 1, 2023. Funding may be requested for 12, 18 or 24 months. Eligible candidates should expect to complete their PhD requirements in two years or less from the time funding begins.
2023 Award Notification: April 15
The application portal for 2024 awards will open in December 2023.
Important: Please read the Program Description below and then click on topics in blue above (Eligibility, Funding, Application Process) to learn the full details about this award.
Every day, patients, clinicians, insurers, and other health care stakeholders make important decisions that impact patient health. It is critical that these decisions are based on rigorous scientific research.
Health outcomes research (HOR) uses analytic tools, patient-reported outcomes, and real-world data (e.g., medical records, insurance claims, patient surveys) to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions and clinical and economic outcomes that matter to patients. HOR provides insight into how therapies work in the real world, which may not be available from randomized clinical trials.
Growing out of the HOR field, value assessment in health care seeks to evaluate the relative benefits and costs of health care interventions. There are many ways to measure the value of a health care intervention, but for the greatest impact, value assessment frameworks and methods should seek to incorporate diverse elements of “value” — including patient and caregiver preferences — that together illustrate the comprehensive benefits and potential drawbacks of a health care intervention.
HOR and value assessment can directly impact patient care when used by health care stakeholders to make decisions regarding patient treatment, insurance coverage, and reimbursement. The PhRMA Foundation’s Value Assessment and Health Outcomes Research Program funds researchers working to define and measure value to ensure health care decisions are being guided by the best possible evidence.
The Foundation seeks research proposals that investigate challenges and potential solutions related to evaluating the delivery, safe use, effectiveness, and value (clinical, patient-centered, and economic) of medicines and other health care interventions. Proposals could be empirical analyses or studies addressing methodological aspects of the following areas:
- Real-world outcomes using real-world data and analytic tools
- Clinical outcomes assessments
- Patient-reported and/or patient-centered outcomes, especially for diverse and underserved populations
- Patient- and equity-centered value assessment frameworks
- Economic evaluations of health care interventions
- Health preference research, particularly the perspectives of patients
- Development of innovative decision and value communication tools
- Evaluation and outcomes assessments focused on health equity and unmet need
- Innovative methods for measuring and reporting novel value elements from different stakeholder perspectives
Please contact the PhRMA Foundation if you have questions regarding eligibility at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Applicants (U.S. and non-U.S. citizens) must attend an accredited U.S. university as full-time, in-residence students.
- Individuals just beginning graduate school should not apply. Applicants will have completed most of their pre-thesis requirements (at least two years of coursework) and be engaged in thesis research as PhD candidates by the time the award is activated. Award activation can begin as early as July 1, 2023, or as late as December 1, 2023.
- Applicants should expect to complete their PhD requirements in two years or less from the time funding begins.
- The thesis adviser’s letter of support must verify the applicant’s doctoral candidacy.
- Applicants enrolled in MD/PhD programs should not be engaged in required clinical coursework or clerkships while the fellowship is active.
- Fellows are expected to devote full time (including summers) to their research.
- Predoctoral fellowships should not be seen as a way to fund the principal investigator’s currently funded research project.
- The Foundation will not consider multiple applications for the same or similar efforts on the same project. If multiple applicants are submitting proposed efforts on the same project, the efforts must be separate activities and not duplicative. This pertains to applications in all four categories of our VA-HOR programs (predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships, faculty starter grants, and mid-career faculty grants).
- This award provides $25,000 in stipend support per year for 12, 18, or 24 months.
- To receive funding beyond the first 12 months, awardees must provide the PhRMA Foundation with a satisfactory progress report upon completion of the first 10 months of funding. In addition, awardees must provide a letter from their thesis adviser, confirming that satisfactory progress is being made.
- Funding is conditional upon the awardee’s continued employment with the university, which will be assessed on a quarterly basis prior to payment. The awardee is required to notify the PhRMA Foundation if they leave the university or if they defend early.
- Payments will be made directly to the university on behalf of the awardee, with the understanding the university will administer the funds.
- This award is intended solely as a stipend and may not be used otherwise. Funds may not be used for tuition, fringe benefits, or indirect costs to the university.
- An individual may not simultaneously hold another funding mechanism providing stipend support while the PhRMA Foundation predoctoral fellowship is active, unless it helps to supplement the award to a level that is consistent with other predoctoral fellowships the university offers. If necessary, the university may supplement the award to a level that is consistent with other predoctoral fellowships it currently offers.
- Up to $1,000 per year may be used for incidentals directly associated with thesis research preparation (e.g., secretarial help, artwork, books, technology, etc.)
- Funding may begin as early as July 1, 2023, or on the first day of any month thereafter, up to and including December 1, 2023.
- A financial report (separate from the 10-month progress report) will be required upon completion of the first 12 months of funding.
- A final progress report and financial report will be required within 60 days of the fellowship’s conclusion.
- Unspent funds are to be returned to the PhRMA Foundation.
- Any changes to the proposed project must be approved by the PhRMA Foundation.
- These funds are non-transferable.
2023 award notification will occur by April 15. The application portal for 2024 awards will open in December 2023.
To start an application, go to the ProposalCentral website at proposalcentral.com. If you are a new user of ProposalCentral, follow the link “Create an Account” and complete the registration process. If you are already a registered user, login with your username and password. If you have forgotten your password, click the “Forgot your Password?” link.
Once you are logged in, please click the “Professional Profile” tab at the top and complete steps 1-11 or update with your current information. Your name, degrees, position/title, academic rank, department, and address will be pulled from this page in ProposalCentral.
Next, select the “Grant Opportunities” tab and a list of applications will be displayed. Find “PhRMA Foundation” and click the “Apply Now” link next to Predoctoral Fellowship in Value Assessment-Health Outcomes Research.
The following components are included in the application:
1. Applicant’s Biosketch (should be NIH or NSF format)
2. Extended Letter (a.k.a. personal statement)
This is an opportunity to tell us who you are. Include a synopsis of your career, your professional interests, and your desired career path. The letter should not exceed two single-spaced pages (U.S. letter size 8.5” x 11” / .5” margin / 12-point font).
3. Research Plan
Applicants must prepare a comprehensive yet concise thesis project description, not to exceed six pages. This should be written by the applicant and not cut/pasted from another’s project. Applicants should use a format similar to that for National Institutes of Health grants. The description should include aims, rationale, research design and methodology, preliminary results (if any exist), and a bibliography of major references (bibliographies are not included in the page limit).
The first use of any abbreviation or acronym should be preceded by the full name or description.Required type specifications: U.S. letter size 8.5” x 11” / .5” margin / 12-point font (figures may be provided in a smaller font). Submissions that do not meet the specified guidelines for proposal preparation will not be considered.
4. Research Impact Questions
Please answer the following four questions using the template provided in the application portal titled Research Impact Questions.
- How will this project advance the methods used in the fields of value assessment and/or health outcomes research?
- How does your proposal address barriers to progress in this space?
- How will the completion of your project bring value to society?
- Are appropriate measures in place to assure compliance with patient privacy and security? Please explain.
5. Stipend Justification
If your institution is supplementing the award to a level that is consistent with other predoctoral fellowships that it currently offers, please upload a “Stipend Justification” explaining why the stipend is being supplemented and at what amount. If not, upload a document stating, “no stipend support.”
6. Other Sources of Funding/Funding Explanation
Upload information about other support this project receives. If no other support, upload a document stating, “No other support has been received or is pending.” Other support includes all financial resources — federal, non-federal, commercial, or institutional — available in direct support of an individual’s research endeavors, including but not limited to research grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, and/or institutional awards. Training awards, prizes, or gifts do not need to be included.
7. Manuscripts/Presentations (optional)
You can upload up to three relevant publications in PDF format.
Please note that the system will not accept your application unless the letters of support from your references have been successfully uploaded. You are required to submit contact information for the following personnel.
- Thesis Advisor
- General Reference(s) (1-3) who are familiar with you and your scientific career
Once you add their name and contact information to your application, an auto-generated email will be sent to them with instructions on what they should address in their letter of support and a personalized hyperlink where they should upload their letter. Letters of support should be uploaded before February 1 so you can submit your application before 12:00 p.m. ET. We suggest you inform your references in advance of what items should be addressed in their letter of support.
Thesis advisor should include:
- Their brief biosketch.
- Assessment of the applicant and proposed research, and confirmation of their doctoral candidacy. If it is pending, please note the anticipated date of doctoral candidacy.
- Information on additional financial support that will be available to the applicant.
- List of research support, including current and pending grants, total amounts, and duration. Because the fellowship grants no research funds, this information is necessary in order to enable further perspective on evaluating the resources available for thesis research.
- Thesis advisor’s history of training/mentoring and a description of the facilities.
- The number of trainees that will be supervised during the candidate’s training period.
- A detailed training plan that should be combined into one PDF with their letter of support.
General reference(s) should include:
- The period of time they have known the applicant and in what capacity.
- Comment on the applicant’s communication and interpersonal skills, and ability to collaborate with peers on research projects.
- Explanation of how this program will be a productive experience for the applicant and why they should be selected.
- If involved in the applicant’s project, an explanation of their roles and responsibilities regarding the project.
REMEMBER to begin your application early so your references have ample time to meet the February 1st deadline.
It is your responsibility that these letters are uploaded. The application portal will permit you to review your application and the status of your letters of support before your final submission. Be sure to check it frequently and do not wait until the last minute.
The application portal will not permit the application to be submitted until the letters of support have been uploaded.