Awards of R01 and R21 Grants in FY 2014

SUMMARY

During fiscal year 2014, the NCI awarded 1,207 competing Research Project Grants (RPGs), resulting in an overall success rate[1] of 14%. NCI funded most R01 and R21 applications with scores up to and including the 9th percentile[2]. The R03 and R15 applications with impact scores[3] up to and including a score of 25 were funded. Applications with higher scores that NCI funded were reviewed by NCI Divisions and NCI's Scientific Program Leaders before they were approved for funding. The graphs that appear below summarize the overall funding patterns for R01s and R21s across various categories of investigators.

Funding Patterns for R01 Applications

The graph in Figure 1 summarizes the number of R01 applications received and grants funded at each percentile, among all investigators. As is evident, the number of grants funded decreased in direct proportion to the percentile ranking. Nevertheless, 34% of the grants funded had rankings beyond the 9th 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 numbers of applications at each percentile score. For Success Rate comparisons, refer to Tables 1 and 2 below.
NCI FY2014: "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 FY2014 Competing R01 Applications and Awards
Figure 2: Experienced Investigators
Figure 2: Experienced Investigators
NCI FY2014 Competing R01 Applications and Awards
Figure 3: New Investigators (Includes Early Stage Investigators)
Figure 3: New Investigators (Includes Early Stage Investigators)
NCI FY2014 Competing R01 Applications and Awards
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

The funding patterns for R21 grant applications are significantly different from those of R01 grants. The patterns are explained by the fact that NCI receives a disproportionate number of applications relative to the number of R21 grants that can be funded (see Table 1). 22% of the grants funded had rankings beyond the 9th percentile.
In contrast to R01 funding patterns, success rates for R21 funding of applications from new investigators are notably lower than for established investigators (9% versus 15% success rates, respectively) (Table 1). Furthermore, whereas the R01 success rate for new investigators is 13%, it is 9% for R21s. This disparity results from the fact that R01 applications from new investigators are given preferential consideration.
Similar displays are shown below for experienced investigators (applicants who have received a prior RPG; Figure 6) and new investigators (applicants who have never received an RPG; Figure 7). The NIH does not report the R21 grants in terms of experienced and new investigators. The NCI was able to apply the R01 rules to the R21 grants to extract and generate the data that distinguishes the two groups. For Success Rate comparisons, refer to Tables 1 and 2 below.
NCI FY2014: R21 Applications, Awards and Success Rates
Figure 5: All Investigators: Experienced, New and Early Stage
Figure 5: All Investigators: Experienced and New
Figure 6: Experienced Investigators
Figure 6: Experienced Investigators
NCI FY2014 Competing R21 Applications and Awards
Figure 7: New Investigators (Includes Early Stage Investigators)
Figure 7: New Investigators
Figure 8: Early Stage Investigators
Figure 8: Early Stage Investigators
Figures 5-8: 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 2014: Success Rates (unsolicited R01's and R21's)
  Total Applications Number With Percentiles
1-25
Number With Percentiles
1-10
Funded Success Rate
R01 - All Investigators 3,840 950 422 574 15%
  Experienced Investigators - Total 2,696 721 317 430 16%
    Type 1 2,200 533 224 306 14%
    Type 2 496 188 93 124 25%
  New Investigators - Total* 1,144 229 105 144 13%
    Early Stage New Investigators** 469 126 63 89 19%
R21 - All Investigators 2,539 688 263 302 12%
  Experienced Investigators 1,180 411 161 180 15%
  New Investigators - Total* 1,359 277 102 122 9%
    Early Stage New Investigators** 314 65 27 33 11%
Total applications include all new and competing renewals that received a percentile, those with just an impact score as well as triaged or not recommended for funding.
Funded R01s exclude competing board supplements
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 327 grants for a total of 1,207 competing Research Projects. The other mechanisms were Program Projects, Small Grants, Requests for Applications, Cooperative Agreements and other funding mechanisms not included.
* Includes Early Stage Investigators
** Included in New Investigators
Table 2: All Competing Research Project Grants
  FY 2014 FY 2013 FY 2012 FY 2011
Funded Success Rate Funded Success Rate Funded Success Rate Funded Success Rate
R01 - Unsolicited* 578 15% 582 15% 620 15% 655 15%
R01 RFAs 51 13% 29 17% 41 10% 16 17%
Total R01 629 15% 611 15% 661 14% 671 15%
R21 - Unsolicited 302 12% 241 10% 200 11% 223 10%
R21 RFAs 53 13% 30 13% 28 7% 30 12%
Total R21 355 12% 271 11% 228 10% 253 10%
R03 93 15% 100 15% 101 20% 72 17%
Other RFAs** 35 15% 23 21% 19 16% 22 32%
Other RPGs*** 95 19% 90 20% 76 17% 88 19%
Total Competing RPGs: 1,207 14% 1,095 14% 1,085 14% 1,106 14%
* Funded R01s include competing board supplements.
** Other RFAs include UM1, R33, U01 and UH2.
*** Other RPGs include R15, R37, P01, U01, U19, UM1 and DP2.
[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 scores3 of applications across all study sections.
[3] The impact score is given by each individual scientific reviewer's assessment of the scored criteria plus additional criteria regarding the protection and inclusion of human subjects; vertebrate animal care and welfare; biohazards, and criteria specific to the funding opportunity and is based on the overall impact that the project is likely to have on the research field(s) involved.
Awards of R01 and R21 Grants in FY 2013
Awards of R01 and R21 Grants in FY 2012
Awards of R01 and R21 Grants in FY 2011


Published Dec 4, 2014 by NCI/DEA