Each year around this time we look back on NIH’s investment in research. Similar to previous fiscal years (FYs), this post focuses on grant funding and success rates for research supported through our traditional annual appropriations…read on for more…
Ever find yourself wondering what and how much research NIH supports near you? Check out what the modernized RePORTER site has to offer in three easy steps! RePORTER’s main search page offers a new map visualization, highlighting active NIH projects by state.
Ten years ago, NIH launched the RePORT (Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools) website to serve as a one-stop shop for reports, data, and analyses of NIH research activities. Well, drum roll please, a new and modernized RePORT site as well as a faster and easier to use NIH RePORTER have now arrived. The updated RePORT site strives to meet the needs of today’s users based on feedback received over the years. It is easier, simpler, and quicker to access the same information you have come to rely upon.
In 2011, Ginther et al. first demonstrated that African American and Black applicants to the National Institutes of Health received grant awards at a lower rate than their white counterparts (Ginther 2011). Since then, multiple studies have reproduced and extended this finding (Ginther 2011; Ginther 2016; Hoppe 2019; Erosheva 2020). Recently we reported that African American and Black (AAB) PIs are more likely to propose research on topics that are less likely to be funded (Hoppe 2019). We found that topic choice has little or no effect on whether an application is chosen for discussion, but after considering a number of confounders, it accounts for over 20% of the gap in funding success for applications that are discussed.
It has been four months since the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered laboratories and clinical studies across the country and the world. On April 10, only a few weeks into the pandemic, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) published a report describing the consequences of social distancing and other pandemic mitigation measures. These consequences included laboratory closures, de-prioritized projects, cancellation of meetings and conferences, loss of revenue, disrupted personnel processes, supply-chain interruptions, and, overlying all of these, a great deal of uncertainty. Since the CRS report was issued, we have learned more about the pandemic’s effects on non-COVID research and on the research workforce.
In times of stress and uncertainty, such as what we are all experiencing now, seeing something different may be welcome. With that in mind, we are taking a few moments to continue our annual tradition spotlighting NIH’s research investments, grant funding, and success rates from the previous fiscal year (FY).
In a paper recently published in Science Advances, we delved into the underlying factors associated with the funding gap between white and black researchers. We identified three decision points where disparate outcomes arose between white and black researchers: 1) the decision to bring applications to discussion during peer review study section meetings; 2) impact score assignments for those applications brought to discussion; and (3) a previously unstudied factor, topic choice – that is what topic the investigators chose to study.
In March 2018, we showed data suggesting that, despite still being in a state of hyper-competition (as described in this post), the severity may be lessening. The number of unique applicants for NIH research project grants (RPGs) appeared to stabilize after many years of uninterrupted growth. Furthermore, a person-based metric, called the cumulative investigator rate, started to rise in fiscal year (FY) 2015 for RPGs after declines in previous years.
For the New Year, we resolve to make NIH data, reports, and analyses more accessible, interactive, and easy to use. For over a decade, the NIH Data Book has served as a helpful resource for describing funding trends on grants and contract awards, success rates, small business programs, peer review, as well as the scientific workforce. These data, presented as graphics and tables, have allowed you to get a better understanding of decisions made here at NIH. We are proud to announce a new edition is available for your 2019 reading list.
At NIH, we are heavily invested in our workforce and in understanding the barriers they face. What characteristics do they share? How do they compete in the current hypercompetitive environment? When do they stop applying to NIH (drop out), even after receiving their first award? Staff from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) delve into these questions in a paper published recently in PLOS ONE , whose findings I’d like to highlight today. Here, Drs. Patricia Haggerty and Matthew Fenton looked at factors that may contribute to the success of early-career investigators and if these factors affect all junior researchers equally.