Associate Director, Clinical Effectiveness and Decision Science


Department: Clinical Effectiveness and Decision Science

Reports to: Program Director, Clinical Effectiveness and Decision Science

Position Summary

Under the direction of the Scientific Program Director, the Associate Director is responsible for leading and supervising a scientific team of program officers and program associates in the strategic decision-making and high-level planning, management and monitoring of the program portfolio, and a broad array of program activities (e.g., advisory panels, workgroup meetings) that advance PCORI's research agenda.

Duties and Responsibilities

    • The primary responsibilities include supervising and mentoring team members' performance and development, providing intellectual and organizational leadership in identifying research priorities in a broad spectrum of clinical effectiveness and patient outcomes research topics, developing research agendas and funding announcements, awarding and managing a portfolio of research contracts, and evaluating program activities and portfolio based on strategic direction of the program. The incumbent is expected to possess the requisite knowledge, skills, and experience in clinical research and research management, as well as mentoring and supervising experience. The incumbent will handle complex tasks with substantial independent responsibility, balancing multiple projects with competing deadlines and priorities, and will have substantial opportunities to make substantive contributions to the research and program development activities of PCORI. This position is located in Washington, DC, and is not eligible for telework.
    • Assists Program Director and Chief Science Officer (CSO) in identifying and implementing strategic objectives and direction for the program.
    • Supervises and mentors a scientific team of 4-8 professional staff, including Senior Program Officers, Program Officers, and Program Associates to accomplish a broad array of scientific development and oversight functions across the life cycle of extramural research funding in patient outcomes research.
    • Leads and manages activities related to the development of program-specific PCORI funding announcements (PFAs) (e.g., convening workgroup and advisory panel meetings, working with external organizations including government organizations).
    • Evaluates the program's portfolio to ensure balance and to identify need for modification of strategic funding directions and opportunities.
    • Collaborates with Chief Science Officer's (CSO) office, staff from other PCORI Science programs, as well as staff in the Engagement, Communications, Finance and Contracts Management units in implementing program activities. Provides leadership in working with other program staff, including program officers, program associates and assistants, administrative assistants, and consultants.
    • Follows PCORI's processes for generating and prioritizing the research topics identified for the program. Screens and assesses proposals submitted in response to PFAs.
    • Supports PCORI's processes for reviewing and awarding applications received through the PCORI funding announcement process. Reviews project summaries and develops recommendations for program staff, PCORI management and Board approval.
    • Advises potential applicants regarding their applications and the application process. Works with potential applicants to refine study plans and budgets.
    • Monitors the programmatic aspects of funded projects. Participates in meetings, conducts site visits, reviews awardee progress reports, and implements learning networks or conferences as part of overall responsibility for managing research contracts. Works with contract management staff in assessing financial status of programs over the term of an award.
    • Assists Program Director in formulating annual work plans and the necessary human and budgetary resource in efficiently and successfully accomplishing the plan.
    • In conjunction with the Program Director, provides scientific and developmental guidance and mentoring for each of the team members, and promote team work in supporting the optimal performance of the team collectively and that of the team members individually in their professional growth and development.
    • Contributes to internal educational activities that have the purpose of raising the levels of knowledge and technical skills of all staff members in the Science Department.

Organizational Responsibilities and Contributions:
    • Represents PCORI publicly regarding program direction, program funding, and the application process and award results.
    • Participates in conferences, seminars, and other professional development activities to maintain and enhance expertise and professional status.
    • Speaks authoritatively regarding his/her area(s) of expertise and is sought as a consultant to other staff and researchers both within and outside of PCORI.
    • Provides clinical and methodological research expertise to PCORI staff within his/her area of expertise.
    • Leads, contributes to, and participates in internal groups and teams and cross-cutting initiatives.
    • Keeps Program Director and team appraised of developments and occurrences in the field that are likely to affect program decision-making, strategies, and/or award decision-making.


Incumbent(s) in this position may be required to perform other duties and special assignments not specifically stated above.

Statements outlined in this section are designated as essential job functions in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

*PCORI Staff Conflict of Interest Statement - No PCORI employee can receive a direct financial benefit from a healthcare related organization during the course of his/her employment with PCORI.

PCORI conducts background checks on all applicants.

PCORI is an equal opportunity employer committed to cultural diversity in the workplace.

Required Skills

  • Strong written and verbal communication skills, which may include previous success in publishing first-authored scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Experience handling and managing multiple priorities effectively; must be adept at organizing time efficiently; high tolerance for ambiguity; ability to understand and work effectively with PCORI staff members.
  • Strong leadership and commitment in providing guidance and mentorship for junior scientific staff as well as peers in a collaborative scientific team and organization.
  • Able to synthesize material and focus quickly on the essence of an issue; to identify major opportunities in a specific area; to see the big picture.
  • Strong oral presentation skills.
  • Strong project and people management skills.
  • Outstanding interpersonal and teamwork skills; collegian, energetic, able to develop productive relationships with colleagues, awardees, consultants, external founders, and others who contribute to program development and management.
  • Ability to travel, as required, including for site visits and representing PCORI at external meetings.
  • Ability to link organizational goals to individual department missions and activities.
  • Ability to envision innovative solutions.
  • Proficient in the use of technology.
  • Personally motivated to support PCORI's mission and goals; to work independently and to think imaginatively about opportunities; to create and respond to innovative approaches to addressing an issue.
  • Inspires others to work towards achieving team goals while being tolerant of change.
  • Sound judgment and maturity, exemplified by consistent professionalism in dealing with individuals at all levels, both internally and externally.
  • Ability to make decisions, justify recommendations, and be responsive and clear with funding applicants.

Required Experience

  • Minimum of ten (10) years of experience in a research discipline relevant to patient-centered outcomes research (e.g., clinical epidemiology, health services research, psychology, health policy, biostatistics, health economics, or health education). A medical (M.D./D.O.) or doctoral (Ph.D., Sc.D., Dr.PH) degree is preferred.
  • Extensive experience plus proven leadership and recognition in the field for specific area of knowledge.
  • Experience leading health services research, with publications and other forms of research dissemination.
  • Experience in leading and mentoring a scientific team, managing large, complex research programs, funded portfolios, assessing risk and developing recommendations and action plans. Extensive experience working in a funding organization with increasing responsibilities and senior management roles is a plus.


Job Location Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Position Type Full-Time/Regular


Back to top