For a previous post, I examined the pool of R-funded investigators over the period from FY2007 to FY2013. Of course, some of these 53526 investigators were funded for all 8 years over this period whereas others were funded for a smaller number of years. The distribution of the number of investigators who were funded from 1 though 8 years over this period is shown below:

The distribution is shows peaks at 2 years (at 19.2%), likely related to 2-year award mechanisms such as R21s, and at 8 years (at 13.5%), related to established investigators with continuing R01 funding.

The distribution of median funding per investigator as a function of the number of years funded is shown below:

The median annual funding per investigator falls almost linearly from the high for investigators funded all 8 years.

The distribution of total funding as a function of the number of years funded is shown below:

This figure reflects both the fact that investigators have been funded for more years have more opportunities to accrue total funding as well as the differences in median funding levels shown above. The investigators funded for all 8 years account for 39% of the total funding over this period for these mechanisms (which is $105 B).

The distribution of annual grant support for the investigators who were funded all 8 years is shown below:

As anticipated from the earlier figure, the median annual total cost funding for this group of investigators is approximately $600,000. Note that this generally reflects multiple awards per investigator per year. A substantial tail extending to well above $2 M per year in annual funding is apparent. The largest of these reflects large epidemiological studies that are supported by R01 grants. Others reflect investigators with a larger number of smaller R01s and other awards.

Finally, the distribution of mean funding per investigator is shown below:

This plot reveals a substantial (approximately 10%) increase in mean funding per investigator in going from FY2008 to FY2009, associated with ARRA, as discussed in the previous post.

Interesting. Making allowances for other mechanisms and the fact this is only 8 years can we ballpark that about half of the NIH funded PIs are approximately continuously funded?

This starts to put numbers out there for those proposals to stabilize funding via program-based assessment criteria. When Francis Collins starts talking about HHMI-like structures he can immediately be asked for the percentage he envisions. Somehow I imagine it is not 50% of the total PI number.....but perhaps I am wrong on that.

[…] has been doing a good job of starting the process of examining the career aspects, see here and here. I think understanding the PI dynamics is critical to achieving some sort of stabilization of the […]

[…] pool of NIH R-mechanism funded investigators from FY2007-FY2013 on a longitudinal basis (here and here). An additional set of features that I did not examine in the previous analyses are gaps in […]

[…] do not return to funding. A prior DataHound post showed that something between 14-30% of PIs are approximately continuously-funded (extrapolating generously here from only 8 years of data). Within these two charts there is a HUGE […]

[…] from DataHound that lead into these considerations as well. I recommend you go back and read Longitudinal PI Analysis: Distributions, Mind the Gap and especially A longitudinal analysis of NIH R-Funded Investigators: 2006-2013. This […]