There has been much discussion (including recently e.g. here and here) about the distribution of the number of grants per PI. Here I examine the distribution of the R01-equivalent (R01 and R37 (MERIT) awards for Fiscal Year 2014.
New (Type 1), Competing Renewal (Type 2), and Non-Competing Continuation (Type 5) award information was downloaded from NIH RePORTER. This yielded 23526 awards. Awards were groups according to the PI. For awards with multiple PIs, only the corresponding PI was considered. The number of awards ranges from 1 to 6. This distribution is shown below:
PIs with 1 R01 grant account for 77.8% of the awards whereas those with 6 awards account for 0.04% of the awards.
This can also be viewed in terms of the fraction of the dollars that are devoted to each group of PIs as shown below:
The fraction of the $9.9 B in this pool (not that this does not include supplements) going to investigators with single R01s is 60.0%. The average size of an R01 award does not vary significantly between the different groups of PIs so that PIs with 2 R01s have (on average) twice as much R01 support as those with 1. The percentage of R01 funds going to PIs with 2 awards is 27.7%. The percentage of R01 funds going to those with 6 awards is 0.17%.
I also examined the distribution of funds to PIs as a function of the NIH institutes and centers (ICs) that fund them. I have previously examined the distribution of R01 funds by IC. Here, PIs are classified according to the IC or ICs that fund them. If a PI has R01s from more than 1 IC, then they are classified as investigators of all ICs and all funds that this PI receives are counted for the involved ICs. This results in the double-counting of funds, but it is germane to issues such as the special scrutiny given to well-funded investigators.
The distributions of the number of PIs as a function of annual total cost R01 support for the four largest institutes are shown below:
Both the first and second peaks for NIGMS and NCI are shifted to smaller amounts relative to the corresponding peaks for NIAID and NHLBI. This may reflect policies of cutting budgets upon award and, in some cases, in out years.
The region of this graph for annual total R01 costs greater than $1 M is shown below:
The curve for NIGMS is below those for the other three institutes, likely due to the NIGMS well-funded investigator policy (although some of the difference could be due to differences in the costs of the types of research supported by different institutes).
These data, together with some analysis of the publication patterns for these groups of investigators currently underway, may be useful as new policies regarding the distribution of funds across groups of investigators are proposed and discussed.
I presented graphs of the number of PIs as a function of funding level for just the four largest institutes. Below is a table that shows the number of PIs for each institute and center (recalling that a PI is associated with an IC if they have at least 1 R01 with that ICs; PIs with R01s from multiple ICs are associated with multiple ICs) as well as the amounts (in $ X1000) for the 10th, 50th, 90th, and 99th percentiles for each IC. Thus, for NIGMS, 10% of the PIs have total R01 funding less than or equal to $277K annual total costs while 99% of NIGMS PIs have less than or equal to $1604K in annual total R01 costs. The ICs with the lowest levels of the 99th percentile are NLM, FIC, NIDCR, NCCAM, and NIGMS. Those with the largest levels of the 99th percentile are NIDA, NICHD, NHGRI, NIAAA, and NIDCR.
|IC||Number of PIs||10th %ile||50th %ile||90th %ile||99th %ile|