I’m pleased to announce that the NIH Data Book has been updated with statistics of fiscal year 2013 grant funding. There is much to look at throughout the Data Book so I encourage each of you to do so, but let me just highlight some notable trends.
Application success rates, as I blogged about in December, declined in 2013 to a historic low. In fact, most of the numbers you are going to see throughout the Data Book went down because of the reduction of NIH’s budget due to the sequestration which lowered NIH appropriations by more than 5% or $1.55 billion below the previous fiscal year. So these smaller numbers, such as fewer new awards and lower application success rates, are not surprising.However, we also saw a small decline in incoming applications, the first since before the Recovery Act (ARRA) of 2009 which bolstered NIH application submissions for a number of years even after ARRA funding ended. Considering applications for FY 2013 funds come in during the previous fiscal year, this reduction in applications cannot be explained by sequestration, and may demonstrate the beginning of a trend, though it is too early to tell. Also, for the first time in recent memory, the average size of awards has gone down. This is likely because we had to accommodate the reduced appropriation and cut all continuing awards by a significant amount, not because we shifted to funding more smaller mechanisms such as the R21s, as these remained at the same proportion of total awards.
Let’s take a look at the numbers:
|The overall success rate for competing research project grants (RPGs) declined.||17.6%||16.8%|
|The average size* of RPGs decreased.||$454,588||$441,404|
|The average size* of RPGs in constant (1999) dollars is the lowest ever since 1999.||$290,869||$277,653|
|In 2013, there was an decrease in the total amount of funding that went to RPGs. **||$15,923,746,065||$14,917,675,859|
|NIH received fewer R01-equivalent grant applications. +||29626||28044|
|Success rates for R01-equivalent applications decreased.||18.4%||17.5%|
|The average size* of R01-equivalent awards decreased.||$419,321||$405,874|
|The number of R01-equivalent awards decreased.||5436||4902|
|R01-equivalents made up a slightly smaller percentage of the total number of RPG awards.||60.2%||59.0%|
|NIH received fewer R21 grant applications.||13,743||13,229|
|Success rates for the R21 decreased.||14.1%||13.4%|
|The number of R21 awards decreased||1,932||1,771|
|R21s made up the same percentage of the total number of RPG awards.||21.4%||21.3%|
|The total number of research grant applications received by NIH decreased.||63,524||61,013|
*Average sizes are based on competing and non-competing awards from all funding sources.
**Amount of funding is the total competing and non-competing amount for each fiscal year, and not for the life of the project. Includes awards made with Direct Budget Authority, Superfund Budget Authority, and Reimbursable funds.
+ R01-equivalents include R01s and R37s. 98% of R01-equivalent awards are R01s.
These are just some of the updated data available in the NIH Data Book. For example, you can look at the awards by gender and see that about 30% of NIH-funded research grants are held by female PIs and that this has not changed substantially in the past few years. I’ve seen some questions as to how success rates are calculated, so I’d like to remind you that the success rate calculation is also described on RePORT, on the Success Rates page, where you can find even more in-depth information on success rates by institute, activity code, etc. Also, if you remember I’ve posted blogs on how success rates, pay line and percentiles differ, so you may want to go back to the most recent post about this for a refresher.
As FY2014 unfolds, we are optimistic that the budget situation will improve and that we will be able to restore the number of awards at least to a level above FY2013, and to support a higher proportion of the excellent applications we receive.