Research Evaluation and Impact Assessment of ARRA Comparative Effectiveness Research Portfolio

Project Overview

The purpose of this 3-year study was to provide the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) with a formative, short-term assessment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)-funded comparative effectiveness research (CER) portfolio. The primary goals of this evaluation were to conduct an initial assessment of the ARRA CER portfolio, cataloguing how CER funding was invested to achieve the vision of the Federal Coordinating Council on Comparative Effectiveness Research (FCCCER); develop tools for ongoing assessment of the ARRA CER portfolio; and provide guidance to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding future CER evaluations and investments.

The study addressed 5 broad research questions:

  1. What types of investments were made with ARRA CER funds?
  2. How has the ARRA CER portfolio of investments begun to address strategic priorities for CER in the United States?
  3. What lessons were learned during ARRA CER projects that can inform HHS as it considers future investments in CER?
  4. What are the implications and potential opportunities for future Federal investments based on lessons learned from the ARRA CER portfolio?
  5. What are the primary issues for HHS to consider for a future evaluation of the long-term impact of the ARRA CER portfolio and other CER investments?

The evaluation used a mixed-methods approach that included a principal investigator survey, in-depth interviews with CER project officers and principal investigators, a stakeholder survey, and Technical Expert Panel discussions. As a subcontractor to Mathematica Policy Research, Insight conducted case studies on ARRA investments in data infrastructure interviews with CER principal investigators and conducted environmental scans on publications pertaining to CER data infrastructure.

Core Activities

Program Evaluation; Qualitative Research; Survey Research; Secondary Data Analysis; Policy Analysis and Assessment


The final report is entitled “Research Evaluation and Impact Assessment of ARRA Comparative Effectiveness Research Portfolio: Final Report” and was submitted to ASPE in September 2013.