AHRQ Small Research Projects to Advance the Science of Primary Care

The Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) Small Research Grant Program supports small research projects that advance the understanding of the role and capacity of primary care to increase the value and quality of care and improve patient outcomes and population health by delivering person-centered care.

Donor Name: Agency for Health Care Research and Quality

State: All States

County: All Counties

U.S. Territories: Guam, American Samoa, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands

Type of Grant: Grant

Deadline: 06/16/2023

Size of the Grant: $100,000

Grant Duration: 2 years


The Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) Small Research Grant Program supports small research projects that can be carried out in a short period of time with limited resources. This program supports different types of projects including pilot and feasibility studies; secondary analysis of existing data; small, self-contained research projects; development of research methodology; and development of new research technology.

AHRQ is interested in applications that will address salient questions related to primary care health services research.  Robust primary care (including the elements of access, coordination, comprehensiveness, and continuity) is particularly important for patients with multiple chronic conditions (MCC), a burgeoning problem with an expanding older population, whose higher risks for severe disease compound the existing burdens of their underlying conditions. Similarly, access to high quality primary care for socially disadvantaged populations is critically important in advancing health equity.  AHRQ is thus particularly interested applications that target the specific needs and challenges of disadvantaged populations and people living with MCC, and that improve their access, quality, and outcomes of care.

Specific Areas of Research Interest:

Sample primary care research domains relevant to this notice include, but are not limited to:

  • Coordination of care across settings and providers, with attention to healthcare disparities and patients with multiple chronic conditions.
  • Person-centered, whole person healthcare delivery that addresses social determinants of health.
  • Primary care workforce issues, including approaches to support, develop, retain, and grow this workforce and further understanding and improvement of burnout, moral injury, and well-being.
  • External supports, composition, and configurations of primary care teams and their effect on the effectiveness, efficiency and experience of care and health outcomes.
  • The impact of financing models on the ability of primary care to deliver quality care.
  • Community-based and public health partnerships.
  • Organization of primary care within health care systems and public health, and its impact on performance.
  • Behavioral health integration within primary care.
  • The role of primary care in response to pandemics, natural and man-made disasters, climate change, other national health emergencies.
  • Meaningful quality measures applicable to the primary care setting.
  • Measurement of key aspects of primary care, such as “comprehensiveness” or “team performance”.
  • The use of digital healthcare (including electronic health records, clinical decision support tools, telehealth, etc.) to improve the delivery of high-quality primary care.
  • Any other significant issues or challenges primary care practices face and innovative solutions targeting them

Overall, AHRQ is interested in research that provides evidence about how to improve the delivery of primary care. Proposed studies may focus on the patient, clinician, practice, or system level. Applicants are encouraged to partner with primary care practices using innovative approaches to study design including co-production of the research, intervention design and evaluation with patients and communities. AHRQ is interested in evidence generation from practice-based data, rapid cycle evaluation, qualitative and mixed methods, and adaptive designs. AHRQ also encourages projects that produce and disseminate timely insights that can be used to improve patient care and inform healthcare delivery.

Funding Information

  • Application budgets are limited to $100,000 total costs (including direct and indirect costs) for the entire project period, regardless of the length of the proposed project period.
  • An application with a budget that exceeds $100,000 total costs for the entire project period will not be reviewed.

Project Period

The project period may not exceed 2 years.

Eligible Applicants

Higher Education Institutions

    • Public/State Controlled Institutions of Higher Education
    • Private Institutions of Higher Education

The following types of Higher Education Institutions are always encouraged to apply for AHRQ support as Public or Private Institutions of Higher Education:

  • Hispanic-serving Institutions
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
  • Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)
  • Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions
  • Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs)

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

  • Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institutions of Higher Education)

Local Governments

  • State Governments
  • County Governments
  • City or Township Governments
  • Special District Governments
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Federally Recognized)
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Other than Federally Recognized)

Federal Governments

  • Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government
  • U.S. Territory or Possession


  • Independent School Districts
  • Public Housing Authorities/Indian Housing Authorities
  • Native American Tribal Organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
  • Faith-based or Community-based Organizations
  • Regional Organizations

AHRQ’s authorizing legislation does not allow for-profit organizations to be eligible to lead applications under this research mechanism. For-profit organizations may participate in projects as members of consortia or as subcontractors only. Because the purpose of this program is to improve healthcare in the United States, foreign institutions may participate in projects as members of consortia or as subcontractors only.  Applications submitted by for-profit organizations or foreign institutions will not be reviewed.  Organizations described in section 501(c) 4 of the Internal Revenue Code that engage in lobbying are not eligible.

HHS grants policy requires that the grant recipient perform a substantive role in the conduct of the planned project or program activity and not merely serve as a conduit of funds to another party or parties. If consortium/contractual activities represent a significant portion of the overall project, the applicant must justify why the applicant organization, rather than the party(s) performing this portion of the overall project, should be the recipient and what substantive role the applicant organization will play. Justification can be provided in the Specific Aims or Research Strategy section of the PHS398 Research Plan Component sections of the SF424 (R&R) application.  There is no budget allocation guideline for determining substantial involvement; determination of substantial involvement is based on a review of the primary project activities for which grant support is provided and the organization(s) that will be performing those activities.

Foreign Institutions

  • Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.
  • Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.

For more information, visit Grants.gov.