Application and award summary data for fiscal year 2014 are now available in the NIH Data Book. These data are of particular interest for all of us this year, considering the historic low of the success rate last year, and the reduction of NIH’s budget in fiscal year 2013, due to sequestration. For this reason, in the table below, we include both FY 2013 and FY 2012 data for comparison purposes.
We received 51,073 competing RPG applications at NIH in fiscal year 2014, an increase compared to last year, but still below the highest number of applications received by NIH in a fiscal year (51,313 applications in FY 2012). We’ll continue to monitor this closely, to see if there is a true downward trend in incoming RPG applications, and to observe the effects of the new resubmission policy announced last April.
Looking at data across both competing and non-competing awards, the average size of RPGs increased to a historical high ($472,827), but in constant dollars (normalized to 1999 value of a dollar as per the biomedical research price index) it is similar to 2012 ($293,463 in FY14 versus $293,141 in FY12). In FY14, the average size of R01-equivalent awards was the highest in history ($427,083), but constant dollars it is the smallest award size since 1999 ($265,072) except for during the FY13 sequestration ($254,719). The large increase in the average size of RPG awards (up 7% compared to FY13, and up 4% compared to FY12) can be explained by the number of large collaborative infectious disease research projects that were issued. Many of these particular projects were up for competing renewals. Also, the average size of R01s, the largest component of the RPG pool, went up 6% compared to 2013, and up 3% compared to 2012.
Interestingly, there was a large increase in the percentage of RPG funding that went towards targeted research programs. Remember that in 2014 NIH launched a large number of initiatives in cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, emerging infectious diseases, and the BRAIN, BD2K, and BUILD projects. It is important to note that the success rates for targeted and investigator-initiated RPG awards are primarily the same, with investigator-initiated success rates slightly higher than targeted research success rates, showing that these targeted programs are as competitive as our investigator initiated programs. (The percentage of new R01-equivalent grant awards and funding to targeted research remained stable compared to recent history.)
I’ve included a highlight of some additional numbers below, and provided the last fiscal year as well the prior fiscal year, since the 2013 sequestration was an unusual circumstance. We’ll take a closer look at more of this data later in 2015. Have fun data diving!
|Number of research project grant (RPG) applications:||51,313||49, 581||51,073|
|Number of RPG awards:||9,032||8,310||9,241|
|Success rate of RPGs applications:||17.6%||16.8%||18.1%|
|Average size of RPGs:||$454,588||$441,404||$472,827|
|Average size of RPG awards in constant (1999) dollars:||$293,141||$279,291||$293,463|
|Total amount of NIH funding that went to RPGs:||$15,923,746,065||$14,917,675,859||$15,635,912,476|
|Number of R01-equivalent grant applications:||29,627||28,044||27,502|
|Number of R01-equivalent awards:||5,437||4,902||5,163|
|Success rates for R01-equivalent applications:||18.4%||17.5%||18.8%|
|Average size of R01-equivalent awards:||$415,445||$402,569||$427,083|
|Average size of R01-equivalent awards in constant (1999) dollars:||$267,900||$254,719||$265,072|
|Total amount of NIH funding that went to R01-equivalents:||$10,898,788,608||$10,075,486,256||$10,238,888,890|