Although the dust has not settled as yet, the NIH has currently accepted more than 18K RC1 applications, with another 11K in the error correction queue. So, at least 20,000 Challenge Grants and perhaps close to my initial estimate of 30K way back when.
For comparison, CSR reviewed 27,360 R01s and 9,483 R21s in 2008.
Of course, while the number of RC1 applications in need of review continues to climb, the days available for review continues to dwindle, and the pool of reviewers has already been heavily tapped. For all of 2008, CSR used 16,000 reviewers (3,104 chartered, 12,136 ad hoc). If each RC1 is to be read by 3 reviewers … well, hello thousands more ad hoc reviewers. I guess at least all the newbies won’t be burdened by prior comfort with the old priority scoring system, and everyone will have the same tabula rasa in terms of how the 1-9 scores will be assigned.
Per the just released Extramural Nexus, CSR expects to engage 10K – 15K reviewers. Scores and summary statements should be available in August, and “while around 200 Challenge Grants will be funded by the NIH Office of the Director through the Common Fund and other monies, it is likely that an equal or greater number of projects will be funded by NIH Institutes and Centers.”