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Funding for Implementation Research

Posted on December 2, 2011

Brian Mittman (bio) cites some key private-sector sources of implementation funding.


I think, for many of us in the field of implementation research, one great hope is PCORI, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, which is developing its research agenda, is expected to begin releasing funding within the next couple of years, and the expected mission and scope of PCORI does include implementation research and related types of studies.

But there's also some evidence of additional private sector funding sources—foundations and so on—again, recognizing the need for investment in implementation, and that their work to improve the human condition to help develop and facilitate actual benefit from new innovative programs that that mission is not accomplished solely by developing or supporting the development of the innovations. They need to invest in the dissemination and implementation activities, and as a consequence, should be investing in implementation research. So that, too, is a promising trend. And on balance, in particular, in relative terms as we compare our situation to those of our colleagues, I think the picture for implementation research funding is relatively bright.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has always funded work in this area. The Commonwealth Foundation, the Donahue Foundation are among those, Hartford Foundation, and many others. I mention those not because they are the only foundations active, but because those are the foundations with which I have the greatest familiarity.

Some of the other foundations that are active in the health field—the Gates Foundation, for example—is apparently beginning to, again, recognize the need for effort and attention to implementation issues and perhaps implementation research. I think those of us working in the field are always watching for signs of increased interest and identifying other foundations. But, again, I think that the trend tends to be a positive trend in terms of greater recognition and discovery of the value of this field and prospects for increased interest in funding in the future.

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Excerpted from interview with Dr. Mittman at the 2011 Global Implementation Conference in Washington, DC.


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