Take a Look at the Science Research Supported by Federal Funders


Frequent readers of the blog and the Extramural Nexus know that RePORT is your first stop on the way to finding information about NIH funded research, as well as data on trends in NIH funding and the biomedical workforce. But did you know NIH is collaborating with other agencies to create Federal RePORTER, a single web portal that allows you to search federal-funded science projects across multiple agencies? While the site is still in alpha testing, we’ve recently added a new partner agency’s data, so I thought it would be a great time to introduce you to this resource.

The project is part of the STAR METRICS® program and supports the program’s goal of linking the federal government’s scientific research investments to outcomes and outputs (e.g., patents, citations, workforce outcomes). A fed-wide database would allow us, and the public, to see the impact of funding, and be a great collaborative tool to find investigators working in similar areas, find reviewers, and see scientific advances in specific fields across agencies. We also believe it will serve as a centralized research resource that will facilitate scientific study of the federal government’s investments in research. You’ll see a familiar search interface if you’ve ever run a search on NIH RePORTER (or projectreporter.nih.gov). While RePORTER includes all NIH-funded research, and research projects from other organizations that currently use our electronic Research Administration (or eRA) systems, Federal RePORTER includes those agencies and several more. The database includes research projects funded by several Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) operating divisions (NIH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, Administration for Children and Families, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality), as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Science Foundation, Department of Veterans Affairs, the Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine and the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs of the Department of Defense, and the latest addition the United States Department of Agriculture.

Just like in NIH RePORTER, you can do advanced text searches, search across all or only a few agencies of your choice, pick your fiscal years of interest, and more. Because some agencies use their own systems, it is important to note that data may not be refreshed at the same schedule as NIH RePORTER data.

Screenshot of Federal RePORTER query screen

Let’s try a sample search to ways Federal RePORTER can help you understand Federal research funding.. Here I’ve searched 2013 data for the phrase “asthma”:

Project search results list example from Federal RePORTER

Once you get a project list you can either click through for more project information, or use the tabs right above the search results list to further explore the data. For example, you can visualize the number of projects by the state where the research is being performed…

Screenshot of demonstration of Maps tool in Federal RePORTER - displaying data vizualization associated with search results

…Or by organization, congressional year, fiscal year (if applicable), and soon, by federal agency. You can also choose to display a summary by the amount of funding, rather than a summary based on the number of projects. And, as on RePORTER, results can be presented as different chart types, or exported to PowerPoint or Excel files.

The Circles tab helps you dive further down into your project list by showing the project search results organized by associated keywords. Click on any of the highlighted dots to read more about a particular project:

Screenshot of demonstration of Circles tool in Federal RePORTER - graphically displying keywords associated with search results

And, you can also view your search results by location by selecting the Map tab, and zoom in to see funded projects near you.

Screenshot of demonstration of Maps tool in Federal RePORTER - displaying funding by location associated with search results

The long term vision of this project is to include products like publications, patents, SciENcv data, etc. We’d love to hear your thoughts about whether we are headed in the right direction, so send us your feedback on your experiences using this tool thus far.

And last but not least, I want to give props to our team and all the agencies that are “STAR METRICS®”. This effort clearly demonstrates how data and information about our programs become more powerful when they fuse together to tell the story of science and research across the nation and the world.


  1. In the past some NIH administrators thought that public information would be ammunition for disease groups, strengthening their demands for more directed spending. However, the advantages of transparency are many and far outweigh such concerns. For example, struggling scientists need to know where the money is going and where opportunities for support might be found. Good data that is easily accessible can counter feelings of unfairness. Congress and the public need the information to see that awards are made nationwide and produce results.

  2. When it is finished, Federal RePORTER will be a useful tool. In the meantime, anyone interested in federal research funding by district should look at the state and district funding information on FASEB’s website This resource has data for NIH, NSF, DOE, and USDA/AFRI

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