Awards of R01 and R21 Grants in FY 2012

SUMMARY

The NCI awarded 1085 competing research project grants (RPGs) in fiscal year (FY) 2012, and the overall success rate[1] for applications for NCI's RPGs was 15% in FY 2012, which was fundamentally unchanged from FY 2011. As in FY 2011, the zone of percentile scores in which nearly all applications were selected for funding extended to the 7th percentile[2] in FY 2012. Beyond the 7th percentile, all applications were reviewed at meetings of divisional program staff and the Scientific Program Leaders (SPL).

Figures 1 to 7 and Table 1 below summarize the funding patterns and numbers for unsolicited R01s and R21s for various categories of investigators. Table 2 compares fiscal years 2011 and 2012 funding patterns for unsolicited and solicited applications.

Funding Patterns for R01 Applications

Figure 1 displays, in vertical bars, the number of R01 applications received (blue) and the number of grants funded (red) at each percentile score for all competing investigators. The plotted line shows the success rate for applications at each percentile. The success rates declined in relationship to the percentile ranking. Of the funded grants, 42% had rankings beyond the 7th percentile, and the success rate fell below 50% only after the 14th percentile. Similar displays are shown below for:
  • experienced investigators (applicants who have received a prior RPG and were applying for a new grant or a competitive renewal - Figure 2);
  • new investigators (applicants who have never received an RPG - Figure 3); and,
  • early stage investigators (new investigators within 10 years of receiving their highest degree - Figure 4).
Similar patterns are observed in all cases, although success rates are not plotted for new and early stage investigators in view of the small number of applications at each percentile score.
NCI FY2012: "Percentiled" R01 Applications, Awards and Success Rates
Figure 1: All Investigators: Experienced, New and Early Stage
Figure 1: All Investigators: Experienced, New and Early Stage
NCI FY2012 Competing R01 Applications and Awards
Figure 2: Experienced Investigators
Figure 2: Experienced Investigators
NCI FY2012 Competing R01 Applications and Awards
Figure 3: New Investigators (Includes Early Stage Investigators)
Figure 3: New Investigators (Includes Early Stage Investigators)
Figure 4: Early Stage Investigators
Figure 4: Early Stage Investigators
Figures 1-4: Excludes applications that did not receive a percentile ranking. When an amended application is considered in the same fiscal year as the original, only the one with the better ranking is counted.

Funding Patterns for R21 Applications

Figure 5 displays, in vertical bars, the number of R21 applications received (blue) and the number of grants funded (red) at each percentile score, for all competing investigators. The plotted line shows the success rate at each percentile. The success rates declined in relationship to the percentile ranking, but the overall success rate was lower for R01 applications (see Tables) and the success rate fell below 50% at a better percentile score. Still, 41% of the funded grants had rankings beyond the 7th percentile.
Similar displays are shown below for experienced investigators[3] (applicants who have received a prior RPG - Figure 6) and new investigators (applicants who have never received an RPG - Figure 7).
NCI FY2012: R21 Applications, Awards and Success Rates
Figure 5: All Investigators: Experienced and New
Figure 5: All Investigators: Experienced and New
Figure 6: Experienced Investigators
Figure 6: Experienced Investigators
NCI FY2012 Competing R21 Applications and Awards
Figure 7: New Investigators
Figure 7: New Investigators
Figures 5-7: Excludes applications that did not receive a percentile ranking. When an amended application is considered in the same fiscal year as the original, only the one with the better ranking is counted.
Table 1: Fiscal Year 2012: Success Rates (unsolicited R01's and R21's)
  Total Applications Number With Percentiles
Of 25 or Better
Number With Percentiles
Of 10 or Better
Funded Success Rate
R01 - All Investigators 4,143 1,029 462 618 15%
Experienced
Investigators - Total
2,849 777 356 466 16%
Type 1 2,345 556 245 316 13%
Type 2 504 221 111 150 30%
*New Investigators 1,294 252 106 152 12%
**Early Stage Investigators 564 129 59 86 15%
R21 - All Investigators 1,911 411 165 200 10%
Experienced Investigators 751 194 73 87 12%
New Investigators 1,160 217 92 113 10%
In this table, "total applications" include all new and competing renewals that received a percentile score; those with just an impact score and those triaged or not recommended for funding are not included. When an amended application is considered in the same fiscal year as the original, only the one with the better percentile is counted.
NCI funded an additional 267 grants for a total of 1,085 competing Research Projects. Applications for Program Projects, Small Grants, and those submitted in response to Requests for Applications and other funding mechanisms are not included.
* Includes Early Stage Investigators
** Included in New Investigators
Table 2: Fiscal Year 2012 vs. 2011: All Competing Research Project Grants
  FY 2012 FY 2011
Funded Success Rate Funded Success Rate
R01 - Unsolicited 620 15% 655 15%
R21 - Unsolicited 200 11% 223 10%
R03 101 20% 72 17%
Solicited R01/R21 and other RFAs 88 8% 68 14%
*Other RPGs 76 88
Total Competing RPGs: 1,085 14% 1,106 14%
* Other RPGs include R15, P01, U01 and UM1.
[1] The success rate is the percentage of applications received that are funded. It is calculated by dividing the number of funded grants by the number of applications received. When an amended application is considered in the same fiscal year as the original, only the one with the better score is counted in the number of applications received.
[2] A percentile is a score that ranks competing applications against others in the same study section in the past year. It is intended to allow a comparison of impact scores of applications across all study sections. The impact score is given by scientific reviewers based on the overall impact that the project is likely to have on the research field(s) involved.
[3] The NIH does not separate the categories, nor report the R21 grants, in terms of experienced or new investigators. The NCI was able to apply the R01 rules to the R21 grants to extract, and generate the data that distinguishes the 2 groups in these graphs.
Awards of R01 and R21 Grants in FY 2011


Published Nov 22, 2011 by NCI/DEA