Over the past few days, we released our annual web reports, success rates and NIH Data Book with updated numbers for fiscal year 2016. Overall, we see steady increases. In addition to looking back over the numbers we typically highlight in this post, we want to point out several new research project grant (RPG)-specific activity codes used to support extramural research. FY 2016 saw the launch of some new activity code uses, such the Phase 1 Exploratory/Developmental Grant (R61 – in lieu of the R21), of which 14 new projects were funded. Large-scale RPGs with complex structures like the RM1 increased substantially from 2015 (when we first began to fund RM1s), from slightly over $4 million in grant money to over $15 million. These activity codes, as well as those more familiar to you such as the R21, collectively supported a variety of specific scientific areas such as the improvement of outcomes in cancer research, support pilots for Alzheimer’s research, genomic research centers, and clinical studies for mental disorders.
Over the past year, NIH grants supported almost 2,400 research organizations, including higher education, independent hospitals and research institutes. We received 54,220 competing research project grant applications in fiscal year 2016, a steady increase. Of these, 30,106 were applications for R01-equivalent grants (as a reminder, R01-equivalents are mostly R01s, but also include activity codes for similar independent RPG programs such as the R37 MERIT award). Although, organizations have seen increased support for RPGs in 2016 totaling $17,137,754,907, for competing and noncompeting grants, the average size of awards continued to increase to $499,221, a historical high for both competing and non-competing awards.
The success rate for competing FY 2016 RPG applications was 19.1% compared to 18.3% in FY 2015. The 2016 success rate for competing R01-equivalent applications was also slightly higher than last year (19.9% compared with 18.9% in 2015). Success rates continue to remain far below the 30% levels we saw 15-20 years ago, during the NIH doubling; the low success rates reflect the hypercompetitive environment we continue to face.
I’ve included a highlight of some additional numbers below from the 2016 fiscal year as well the two prior fiscal years.
|Research Project Grants|
|Number of research project grant (RPG) applications:||51,073||52,190||54,220|
|Number of new or renewal (competing) RPG awards:||9,241||9,540||10,372|
|Success rate of RPG applications:||18.1%||18.3%||19.1%|
|Average size of RPGs:||$472,827||$477,786||$499,221|
|Total amount of NIH funding that went to RPGs (both competing and noncompeting):||$15,635,912,476||$15,862,012,059||$17,137,754,907|
|Number of R01-equivalent grant applications:||27,502||28,970||30,106|
|Number of new or renewal (competing) R01-equivalent awards:||5,163||5,467||6,010|
|Success rates for R01-equivalent applications:||18.8%||18.9%||19.96%|
|Average size of R01-equivalent awards:||$427,083||$435,525||$458,287|
|Total amount of NIH funding that went to R01-equivalents (both competing and non-competing):||$10,238,888,890||$10,279,687,172||$11,077,251,191|