In recent posts, I presented data regarding the trends in the percentage of A0 applications among funded R01 grants, showed how the percentage of A0 applications varied between the NIH-wide population and a select group (members of a section of the National Academy of Sciences), and examined the variations in R01 success rates between different NIH Institutes and Centers. Here, I bring these threads together to look at how the percentage of A0 applications among R01 grants varies across NIH Institutes and Centers and then extend the analysis to see how these percentages varies across different universities and other institutions.

Curves showing the percentages of A0 applications among funded R01 grants for six NIH institutes are shown below:

The top two curves are from NIGMS and NEI, two institutes that have had relatively high R01 success rates. The curves lie above the NIH-wide curve. The other curves are for four large institutes with lower success rates.

The average percentages of A0 applications among funded R01 grants over the period from FY2001 to FY2013 for these institutes are compared with the average R01 success rates over this period are shown below:

Institute | Average % A0s | Ave Success Rate |

NIGMS | 0.556 | 0.290 |

NEI | 0.533 | 0.325 |

NCI | 0.380 | 0.205 |

NIAID | 0.399 | 0.232 |

NHLBI | 0.457 | 0.235 |

NICHD | 0.389 | 0.175 |

These parameters are highly correlated with a correlation coefficient of 0.90. The slope of the line fit to these data is 0.54 ± 0.09. Thus, s a rule of thumb, the average success rate is approximately one half of the average percentage of A0 applications among funded R01 grants over this period.

These data are extended to all ICs with R01 success rates for individual fiscal years plotted versus he percentages of A0 applications among funded R01s for those years below:

As could be anticipated, there is more scatter in these data, given the factors that influence both parameters as well as the changes in policy over this period. Nonetheless, a correlation is observed with a correlation coefficient of approximately 0.4 and a best fit line with a similar slope.

The observation of this correlation suggested that the percentage of A0 applications among funded R01 grants could serve as a publicly available parameter to examine the experiences of average investigators at different extramural institutions. The average percentages of A0 applications among funded R01 grants for the period over the period from FY2001 to FY2014 were calculated for the 100 institutions that received the most NIH funding in FY2013. This distribution of these averages are shown below:

The distribution includes a number of institutions with relatively high percentages of A0 applications. These are labelled above. Examination reveals that these institutions consist largely of basic science-focused institutions with substantial hard money support for salaries including the prominent schools of Arts and Sciences or Engineering. This observation is supported by the fact that Princeton University (which is not in the top 100 institutions in terms of overall NIH funding) has a high percentage of A0 applications (62.2%).

Curves for individual institutions are compared below. These include the institution with higher percentage (Rockefeller), an institution with one of the highest percentage but not an outlier (UCSF), and application in the center of the distribution (University of Pennsylvania), and an institution at the bottom edge of the distribution (Wayne State University).

Based on the correlation with success rates, these data suggest that the average success rate for investigators at Rockefeller is approximately 50% higher than that for the NIH-wide average.