FY 2023 By the Numbers: Extramural Grant Investments in Research


We are back again to share our annual update on NIH application, award, and success rate data. Here we present our most recent information for fiscal year (FY) 2023 enacted appropriations. As a note, the NIH Data Book has other historical grants data and is being updated with more FY 2023 grants and application data. Similar to our FYs 2020, 2021, and 2022 posts, spending related to special appropriations for coronavirus are excluded here, but may be found using RePORTER’s advanced search capabilities.

We spent $34.9 billion of our total $47.7 billion appropriation in FY 2023 for competing and noncompeting grant awards. This is a 4.7% increase (or $1.58 billion) in spending over the previous year. Monies for grants and Other Transaction awards are included while monies for ARPA-H and research and development contracts are excluded.

NIH supported 58,951 competing and non-competing awards in FY 2023. This was an additional 583 extramural grants compared to 58,368 in FY 2022, a 1.0% increase. NIH issued grants to 2,743 academic universities, hospitals, small businesses, and other organizations throughout the U.S. and internationally. 

Table 1 – All Extramural Research (competing and non-competing, excluding contracts)

202220232023 % Change from 2022
Number of Awards58,36858,9511.0%
Total Amount (in billions)$33.34$34.924.7%

The success rate for new research project grants (RPGs) increased 0.6 percentage points from 20.7% in FY 2022 to 21.3% in FY 2023. We received 2,688 fewer RPG competing applications and made 259 fewer awards in FY 2023 compared to the previous fiscal year (54,571 applications and 11,311 awards compared to 51,883 applications and 11,052 awards), but we awarded a greater percentage of RPGs. The average nominal cost per RPG rose by 2.9% in 2023 to $609,790 from $592,617 in FY 2022.

Table 2 – Research Project Grants (RPG)         

202220232023 % Change from 2022
Number of research project grant (RPG) applications:54,57151,883-4.9%
Number of new or renewal (competing) RPG awards:11,31111,052-2.3%
Success rate of RPG applications*:20.7%21.3%2.8%
Average size of RPGs:$592,617$609,7902.9%
Total amount of NIH funding that went to RPGs (both competing and non-competing), in billions:$24.400$25.3654.0%

* Success rates are calculated by dividing the number of awards made in a FY by the number of applications received. Applications having one or more amendments in the same fiscal year are only counted once.

Most RPGs are R01-equivalent grants, and this subgroup showed similar trends. We spent $19.8 billion on average on R01-equivalent grants in FY 2023 compared to $19.1 billion spent in FY 2022, a 3.4% increase. Like RPGs, the R01-equivalent grant success rate also increased but only slightly (0.05 percentage points), going from 21.59% in FY 2022 to 21.64% in FY 2023, not a significant change. We spent 2.7% more in average nominal costs on R01-equivalents in FY 2023, $600,957 compared to $585,307spent in FY 2022.

Table 3 – R01-equivalent Grants**

 202220232023 % Change from 2022
Number of R01-equivalent grant applications:36,19835,072-3.1%
Number of new or renewal (competing) R01-equivalent awards:7,8167,592-2.9%
Success rates for R01-equivalent applications:21.6%21.6%0.3%
Average size of R01-equivalent awards:$585,307$600,9572.7%
Total amount of NIH funding that went to R01-equivalents (both competing and non-competing): (in billions)$19.108$19.7613.4%

**R01-equivalent grants are defined as activity codes DP1, DP2, DP5, R01, R37, R56, RF1, RL1, U01 and R35 from select National Institute of General Medical Sciences and National Human Genome Research Institute program announcements. Not all these activities may be in use by NIH every year.

Please note that NIH does not report the number of applications received in specific research areas, and thus does not report success rates for those areas either.


  1. I am curious how the success rates are >20% when most institutes publish paylines of >15, and some even >10? Most of my grants are assigned to NIAMS which last year listed 10% and this year is at 8%. In FY23 I had two R01s scored at 13 and 14 percent that went unfunded? Am I just unluckly?

    1. Lisa, the best metric to follow is the payline. In 2023 NIAMS had a payline of 10% for R01s and 15% for R01s from new investigators – see this link https://www.niams.nih.gov/about-niams/niams-budget/fy-2023-funding-plan

      The 20% success rates are done by using the actual number applications not the number of grant reviews. In any year considerably more grant reviews are done than applications submitted because many applications are reviewed twice, once as an initial application and then again as a revised application.

      If your scores are for an initial application then you should definitely be revising them. If they are for revised applications, then you should be reworking them based on the previous reviews and submitting as a new application because your study section obviously likes the work, you are just missing funding by a whisker. Talk with your Program officer about new applications. She/he is your best friend when it comes to help getting you on the correct side of the payline.

  2. Hi Laura,
    First of all, my condolences to you for achieving very good scores but still not getting funded. I am also baffled by the same question. I think it might have something to do with each applications having 2 chances (with the resubmission), but I am still not sure how the math works out. I am also curious why the number of R01-equivalent applications decreased by 5%; this is a pretty big drop in one year. It is because there are fewer PIs (people dropping out of the work force)? Is this a good trend for biomedical research in this country? Best of luck with your resubmission. BTW, I think you meant published paylines of <15 and <10.

    1. The success rate calculation includes applications that are peer reviewed and either scored or unscored by an Initial Review Group. Applications having one or more amendments in the same fiscal year are only counted once. Applications that are withdrawn by an applicant prior to review, or returned or administratively withdrawn by the NIH Center for Scientific Review, or a NIH IC2 and not peer reviewed by an Initial Review Group are excluded from the success rate calculation. Please refer to the following resource for more on success rate (also linked in the footnote for Table 2): https://report.nih.gov/sites/report/files/docs/NIH_Success_Rate_Definition.pdf

  3. Likely because R01-equivalent grants are defined as activity codes DP1, DP2, DP5, R01, R37, R56, RF1, RL1, U01 and R35 from select NIGMS and NHGRI program announcements (PAs); These are not just numbers from individual investigator submitted R01s. For example, one cannot even apply for an R37 (MERIT award). They are chosen by NIH. There is no external competition. Even though there are only a few each year, they are essentially 100% funded. Similarly, R37 and RF1 are not grants one applies for, so there is no denominator. NIH either awards them or does not.
    It would be helpful just to see R01 numbers.

  4. We know that the actual R01 numbers are defined by the published paylines and are not 20%. This numbner of over 20% success is not for our standard R01’s.

    1. The data in this post represent success rate figures for NIH as a whole. Please also keep in mind that in Table 3, the 21.6% success rate is for all R01-equivalent grants, which (which include more than R01 grants). In Table 2, the 20.7% and 21.3% success rates are for all research project grants (which also include more than R01 grant types). In addition, success rates can vary across NIH Institutes and Centers (some of which do not use paylines). Please refer to the NIH Data Book for more information on success rate data that may be of interest: https://report.nih.gov/nihdatabook/category/10

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