Number of New and Competing Renewal Awards from 1995-2014

Feb 26 2015 Published by under Uncategorized

In my recent post, I noted in passing that the number of Type 2 (Competing Renewal) awards (R01s and R37s) fell from 2653 in FY1995 to 1532 in FY2014. This led to both comments on the post and a post on this topic from Drugmonkey. Since I was also struck by this observation, I was already working on additional analysis.

Below is a plot of the number of New (Type 1) and Competing Renewal (Type 2) awards (just R01s this time for simplicity) as a function of time from FY1995 to FY2014.

Type 1-2 Award number graph

The first striking observation is the dramatic increase in New (Type 1) awards from FY1997 to FY2000 (at the beginning of the NIH "budget doubling" with no corresponding increase in Type 2 awards. This lack of increase in Type 2 awards is almost certainly due to the lack of an increase in applications although I have found no readily available data from these years. Note, further, that success rates for Type 2 applications were likely around 50% (or perhaps above) during this period (see below for data for later years).

From NIH RePORT Funding Facts, data are available for the number of applications and awards for Type 1 and Type 2 R01 grants from FY2001 to the present. Note that these data different slightly from those above and do not appear to include awards made associated with the Recovery Act. These data are plotted below.

Type 1-2 Apps Award Plot-2

This plot shows the further increase in Type 1 Applications over this period. As shown here and in the first figure, the number of Type 1 Awards has been relatively flat (after the 75% increase just prior to FY2000. The number of Type 2 applications increased gradually from FY2001 to FY2006 (by 35%), slowly fell from FY2006 to FY2010 (by 15%), and then fell somewhat more dramatically (by 25%) from FY2010 to FY2014. The number of Type 2 awards decreased by 11% from FY2001 to FY2006, by 4% from FY2006 to FY2010, and then dramatically (by 31%) from FY2010 to FY2014.

These trends are reflected in success rates for Type 1 and Type 2 R01 grants over this period shown below:

Success rate plot-2


The success rates fell dramatically shortly after the end of the "budget doubling" and then stabilized to some extent from FY2007 to FY2014.

Taken together, these data reveal that there has been a sharp drop in the number of Competing Renewal Awards, particularly over the past 4 years. This have been driven in large part by a drop in the number of Type 2 applications. This, in turn, may be due to the "No A2" policy or to changes in application behavior around and after the Recovery Act.

2 responses so far

  • Established PI says:

    Thanks as always for the detailed analysis. It doesn't seem, though, that the change in A2 policy accounts for the numbers. What else could be driving this.

    By the way, great news over at Feedback Loop about the increase in NIGMS success rates in FY 2014.

    • datahound says:

      The increase in Type 2 applications from FY2002 to FY2006 is almost certainly due to the large increase in Type 1 awards from FY1997 to FY2000. Thus, some of the new R01s that were awarded at the beginning of the doubling were submitted for competing renewals. As success rates were relatively high when these new grants were funded, one might expect them not to do so well (in terms of funding) in the much more competitive environment after the doubling. The number of Type 2 applications would be expected to drop after these grants competed (either successfully or unsuccessfully).

      The Recovery Act funding also disrupted the system in that a number of 2 year R01s were made. I would not expect that these did very well in competing renewals, but I need to check this.

      Other ideas are welcome.

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