Each fiscal year, NINDS establishes a payline for all percentiled R01, R21, R03, and R15 grants (FY13 payline: 14th percentile) and funds all applications that score within that payline with very rare exceptions. Figure 1 illustrates the numbers of applications, grant and bridge awards for FY 2013. The data represent all categories of investigators: experienced investigators who have had NIH grants in the past, new investigators who previously have not had a substantial independent NIH award, and early stage investigators who are within 10 years of completing their Ph.D. or residency training and have not had a previous grant.
Figure 2 reveals data on new applications and Figure 3 on renewal applications. Success rates for renewal applications are significantly higher than those for new applications (Table 1).
When resources are available, NINDS supports a limited number of applications with scores outside the payline (Figure 4). These include applications from experienced investigators that are high program priorities and bridge awards to cover a known, productive lab during a brief period of uncertainty, or to assist new investigators. Helping new investigators transition to independence is a high priority for NIH, and an important funding consideration for NINDS. During each Advisory Council round, NINDS funds additional R01 applications from new (Figure 5) and early stage investigators (Figure 6) with percentiles beyond the payline, based on funds available. The goal is to support new investigator R01s at success rates equivalent to those of established investigators submitting new R01 applications.
As part of the effort to maintain a consistent payline, NINDS also works to stabilize the number of R01 equivalent grants funded each year (Figure 7).
When new applications receive an unfundable score, PIs want to know whether it is worthwhile to submit an A1 (resubmission) application. The answer depends on whether the key weaknesses identified by the reviewers can be addressed satisfactorily in a timely manner AND on whether the reviewers identified substantial strengths warranting high enthusiasm in the absence of the weaknesses. More detailed guidance about “next steps” after an application has been reviewed can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/next_steps.htm.
Figure 1. FY 13 applications, grants, and bridge awards for all investigators: experienced, new and early stage. Cumulative data for all competing R01 applications (red bars), awarded grants (blue bars), and bridge awards (green bars) for all categories of investigators in fiscal year 2013. Dashed line indicates the payline (14th percentile) for FY13.
Figure 2: All new (Type 1) R01 applications for FY 13.
Figure 3: All renewal (Type 2) R01 applications for FY 13.
Figure 4: FY 13 applications, grants, and bridge awards for experienced investigators defined as those who have had previous NIH grants.
Figure 5: FY 13 applications, grants, and bridge awards for New Investigators, defined as those who have NOT had previous R01 equivalent awards from NIH.
Figure 6: FY 13 applications, grants, and bridge awards for early stage investigators, defined as those New Investigators within 10 years of completing their research training.
Figure 7. Number of R01 equivalent grants (R01, R23, R29, R37, and DP2 activity codes) funded by NINDS in fiscal years 1997-2013.
Table 1. R01 Success Rates for new and renewal applications. Source: NIH Report
Last updated October 24, 2014