Mid-career Investigators and Shifting Demographics of NIH Grant Recipients

While NIH policies focus on early stage investigators, we also recognize that it is in our interest to make sure that we continue to support outstanding scientists at all stages of their career. Many of us have heard mid-career investigators express concerns about difficulties staying funded. In a 2016 blog post we looked at data to answer the frequent question, “Is it more difficult to renew a grant than to get one in the first place?” We found that new investigators going for their first competitive renewal had lower success rates than established investigators. More recently, my colleagues in OER’s Statistical Analysis and Reporting Branch and the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute approached the concerns of mid-career investigators in a different way – by looking at the association of funding with age. Today I’d like to highlight some of the NIH-wide findings, recently published in the PLOS ONE article, “Shifting Demographics among Research Project Grant Awardees at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)”. Using age as a proxy for career stage, the authors analyzed funding outcomes for three groups …. Continue reading

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How Do Multi-PI Applications Fare?

A question that I hear often from investigators is: are my chances of funding increased or decreased by submitting a multi-PI application? It was seven years ago that NIH implemented the Multiple Principal Investigator Policy to encourage interdisciplinary and team approaches to biomedical research, and give scientists the option to apply with their peers and allow for equal credit for leadership of the research program. While the single-PI model works well, and continues to be the model for most of NIH’s research grants, the multi-PI option recognizes that as health research grows in scale and complexity, scientific teams may better reflect the intellectual and scientific leadership within a given grant application. So, let’s look at some data on how multi-PI applications fare in comparison to single-PI applications. …. Continue reading

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