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Program Manager, Merit Review

Washington D.C.
Competitive salary
Closing date
Dec 17, 2021

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Job Description

Department: Merit Review 

Reports to: Director of Merit Review 

Candidate must submit cover letter with application. 

About Us

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is authorized by Congress to conduct research to provide information about the best available evidence to help patients and their health care providers make more informed decisions. PCORI’s research is intended to give patients a better understanding of the prevention, treatment and care options available, and the scientific methodologies that underlie such research.

Position Summary

Under the direction of the Director, Merit Review, the Program Manager, Merit Review is responsible for planning and coordinating the day-to-day activities of the rapidly expanding Merit Review Department and its increasing mission-critical activities including exponential growth of multiple concurrent review panels (Broad, Targeted, D&I, PCS, new PLACER and planned Science of Engagement).

The incumbent will assist the Director and the MR leadership team in operational and administrative functions of the Department, ensuring efficient and effective daily operations. The primary responsibilities include mentoring support staff, developing and maintaining efficient work processes for Merit Review functions, serving as a Merit Review liaison across Program Operations and PCORI departments and programs including Science, Engagement, Procurement, Finance, IT, and Meetings & Travel to support successful review cycles. Also, the Program Manager will provide support for ongoing Merit Review activities (reviewer recruitment, responsiveness screening, reviewer training, summary statement development, generation, and issuance), as well as critical support to the Merit Review staff during times of surge activity (e.g., review panel meeting preparation and convening).  

Duties and Responsibilities 

  • Works closely with Director and other members of the Merit Review leadership team to plan and coordinate the day-to-day activities of Merit Review
  • Prepares panel meeting schedules and serves as the point of contact for PFA (PCORI Funding Announcement) development and the funding cycle timeline
  • Mentors support staff
  • Assesses, prioritizes and monitors the project management and operational workload related to the Merit Review support functions among the support staff
  • Prioritizes, monitors, and coordinates administrative and operational activities within Merit Review including assisting with the preparation of routine deliverables for internal and external dissemination to key stakeholders, including QA/QC of documents and materials for formatting and accuracy
  • Develops and maintains an efficient and effective system of work processes and procedures
  • Communicates effectively about review activities to support coordination and collaboration with all parties internal and external including other Program Operations Departments, and relevant PCORI departments and teams to ensure successful Merit Review cycles
  • Facilitates the efficient and effective tracking of department milestones to ensure timely completion of review tasks. Works with the Director and the MR leadership team to assess and monitor risks and issues in the Merit Review operation and performance such as effectively managing resources to manage the panel review meetings. Assists in the development of mitigation plans for identified risks, and coordinates the necessary resources
  • Coordinates and carries out operational activities for Merit Review such as, but not limited to, the procurement activities for service contractors, including the IDIQ and personal services contracts to ensure appropriate staffing levels including support for surge activities
  • Assists the Director in developing and monitoring the annual budget and operating plan for Merit Review, working closely with the AD, Operations and Administration – PSIM, to ensure the annual budget appropriate financial oversight of Merit Review activities
  • Assists the Director with Merit Review talent management activities including recruiting and workforce planning
  • Manages special projects and participates in Program Operations or PCORI workgroups as assigned

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. 

Required Skills

  • Demonstrated experience in an operational/administrative project management role and ability to coordinate across teams executing highly collaborative activities and processes
  • Proven leadership skills for facilitating problem-solving and team mentoring
  • Demonstrated ability to share knowledge and expertise to guide team members related to project management and project performance oversight
  • Ability to envision and implement innovative solutions to operational or administrative needs
  • Strong detail orientation with the ability to manage and work on multiple tasks/projects under tight timelines
  • Flexible and adept at working in an environment with dynamic priorities
  • Collaborative, team-player who thrives in working collegially with staff across the organization, and at all levels
  • Excellent communication skills. Communicates effectively, both written and orally, on complex issues and to internal and external teams within PCORI.
  • Proficiency in the use of technology, including knowledge of MS Office Suite, internet literacy, and willingness to learn new computer skills as necessary. Experience with Salesforce is a plus

Required Experience


  • Master’s degree or a Bachelor’s degree with 4 years’ relevant operational/administrative project management experience or competencies
  • Applicants with relevant experience working in health research, at a funding organization/agency, conducting research, and/or project management preferred


PCORI conducts background and credit checks on all applicants.

PCORI is an equal opportunity employer committed to cultural diversity in our workforce.

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