R01 and R21 Applications & Awards: Trends and Relationships Across NIH

As described on our grants page, the R21 activity code “is intended to encourage exploratory/developmental research by providing support for the early and conceptual stages of project development.” NIH seeks applications for “exploratory, novel studies that break new ground,” for “high-risk, high-reward studies,” and for projects that are distinct from those that would be funded by the traditional R01. R21 grants are short duration (project period for up to 2 years) and lower in budget than most R01s (combined budget over two years cannot exceed $275,000 in direct costs). NIH institutes and centers (ICs) approach the R21 mechanism in variable ways: 18 ICs accept investigator-initiated R21 applications in response to the parent R21 funding opportunity, while 7 ICs only accept R21 applications in response to specific funding opportunity announcements. As mentioned in a 2015 Rock Talk blog, we at NIH are interested in trends in R01s in comparison to other research project grants, so today I’d like to continue and expand on looking at R01 and R21 trends across NIH’s extramural research program. …. Continue reading

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Grant Renewal Success Rates: Then and Now

In one of my earlier blog posts, I described an analysis looking at whether attempts at renewal are successful. We looked at data from fiscal years 2013-2015, and found that renewal applications have higher success rates than new applications, and that this pattern is true for both new and experienced investigators. In response to your comments and queries, we wanted to follow up on the analysis with some historical data that looks are whether success rates of competing renewals decreased disproportionately compared to new grant applications’ success rates. …. Continue reading

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Are Attempts at Renewal Successful?

On my first day on the job as NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research, one of my colleagues asked me a question: Is it true that it is more difficult to renew a grant than it is to get one in the first place? Some people wonder whether NIH’s interest in supporting new investigators who are trying to get their first grant negatively impacts the other investigators’ attempts to renew their grants.
To address this question we gathered data on R01-equivalent success rates for new and experienced investigators seeking funding in fiscal years (FY) 2013 through 2015. …. Continue reading

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Looking at Recent Data on R21 and R01-equivalent Grants

One topic of frequent interest to NIH leadership is how R01-equivalent awards compare to other research grant awards. The R01 is the standard mainstay of NIH’s research portfolio, and the oldest grant mechanism in use by NIH. As those familiar with the blog and RePORT know, we usually look at R01s in conjunction with other awards providing similar support analogous to an R01, which includes R37s or MERIT program awards. Of the R01-equivalent pool however, R01s make up the overwhelming bulk of these grants so while we call them R01-equivalents for accuracy-in-reporting reasons, it is highly appropriate to consider R01-equivalent data as representative of R01 trends. Over the past years we’ve been looking at trends in R01-equivalents compared to trends in awards through the R21 activity code. …. Continue reading

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2014 By the Numbers

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 FY2013 and FY 2012 data for comparison purposes. …. Continue reading

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FY2013 By The Numbers: Research Applications, Funding, and Awards

I’m pleased to announce that the NIH Data Book has been updated with statistics of fiscal year 2013 grant funding. There is much to look at throughout the Data Book so I encourage each of you to do so, but let me just highlight some notable trends. Application success rates, as I blogged about in December, declined in 2013 to a historic low. …. Continue reading

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Revisiting the Relationship Between Paylines and Success Rates

As a followup to my recent blog post on fiscal year 2012 success rates, I’d like to post an update of an earlier blog post where I explained how paylines, percentiles and success rates relate to one another. It’s a long one, but should be helpful in understanding what we mean when we look at success rates. Continue reading

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