NIH FY09 Success Rates

So as the 2009 applicants await word as to whether they will be funded with FY10 dollars, I thought I’d post the lastest success rate data from the NIH.

The big NIH-wide scoreboard shows an overall success rate of 20.6%. This includes all competitive applications (e.g., new, renewals, supplements) for all mechanisms. As a reminder, NIH Success Rates:

include applications that are peer reviewed and either scored or unscored by an Initial Review Group. Success rates are determined by dividing the number of competing applications funded by the sum of the total number of competing applications reviewed and the number of funded carryovers [i.e., applications reviewed and scored but not funded the fiscal year prior]. Applications having one or more amendments in the same fiscal year are only counted once.

Grants funded jointly by 2 or more ICs are counted only by the IC footing the largest chunk of the bill.

On the master file, you can click on your favorite ICs to get their specific success rate stats.

Across the NIH, R21s (all Type 1s) have success rates well below R01s (which include Type 2/3 applications in their success rate). Among the big ICs, NHLBI is at 14.5% for the R21; NCI, 13.7%; NINDS, 12.8%; NIAID 11.8%; NIGMS, 7.9%; and NIDDK (which discourages applicants from using this mechanism except for specific types of work), 4.6%. NIMH is an outlier with an R21 success rate of 20.1%. In general, in fact, NIMH looks to be a nice place to go for money … except for R03s, which have a success rate of 9.6% (go to NIDDK, 58%, or NCI, 30.8%, for this mechanism … though these are probably mainly secondary data analyses awards).

No data on F, K, or T awards here … you need to scroll down the main success rate page and check the appropriate Excel spreadsheet for these data … or better yet, check the NIH Data Book for trends in Career Development Awards and Training Grants & Fellowships.


  1. NIGMS does not participate in the parent R21 announcement (see ) whereas NIDDK does. NIGMS awarded 6 R21s out of 76 applications, all from targeted announcements. NIDDK awarded 23 R21s out of 497 applications.

    NIGMS developed the EUREKA R01 program as an alternative to R21s for high risk-high impact projects. The EUREKA program has one receipt date per year. See for the current announcement.

    • writedit said

      I stand corrected (thank you). NIDDK is so reticent to fund R21s except for very specific uses that I had assumed they had dropped out of the parent announcement. This is definitely a situation in which you want to talk with the PO before submitting to be sure you’re using the mechanism correctly.

      Does NIGMS have an alternative for the R03 mechanism?

      • No, NIGMS does not. NIGMS never used the R03 machanism extensively.

    • drugmonkey said

      there is something distinctly odd about having a single annual receipt date for proposals that the NIH expects to be high risk/ high payoff. Having trouble putting my finger on it exactly though.

      • I see your point in the sense that such opportunities/ideas sometime occur in a manner well suited to a rapid turnaround program. On the other hand, many of the projects addressed through the EUREKA program relate to long-standing issues. EUREKA awards are also for four years rather than two. The EUREKA program is designed to address high risk-high impact projects and not pilot projects, one of the other uses of R21 grants.

        The review of EUREKA applications in handled by institute review offices in special emphasis panels rather than by CSR in standing study sections. It is challenging to put together review panels to cover EUREKA applications that span the range of the NIGMS mission.

      • whimple said

        Maybe in the way that preparation and submission of a EUREKA application is itself a high risk / high reward activity? 🙂

  2. Y said

    writedit, I don’t understand the NIDDK FY09 R21 data. If I use “%R21DK%-01%” to search for newly awarded NIDDK R21 in FY09, I can find 105 funded grants, not 23 (23/497) as shown in the table.

    • writedit said

      Indeed. If you select NIDDK as the Admin IC, 2009 as the FY, New-Renewal-Supplement/Revision as the application type, and %R21% in the project number, a total of 120 records are returned. If you drop the supplements/revisions, a total of 100 records are returned. Looking at the Funding IC column, all but one (an OD-funded award) are being paid by NIDDK.

      But – how many of these 100 are ARRA-funded? 77, leaving 23 funded using monies from the NIDDK FY09 appropriation.

      Using these same criteria, only 4 R21s have been awarded in FY10 (which officially started Oct 1, 2009) thus far.

      • B.O.S.S. said

        Any projections about NIDDK success rates for R21s during the rest of FY2010?

  3. […] Success Rates-2009 by MedSciWriter under NIH WritEdit has a good summary of FY2009 NIH funding success rates by Institute/Center. The post includes links to the full success rates report, as well as some […]

  4. drugmonkey said

    what are “funding rates” as distinct from success rates?

    • writedit said

      My guess, looking at the new (versus old) NIH Data Book is that they are applying the term “success rate” to applications/mechanisms and “funding rate” to applicants. At a quick glance, I only see the term “funding rate” when data about PIs are presented.

      • microfool said

        That is correct

      • DrugMonkey said

        also, if this is true the breakdown by new/experience investigator should be a “funding rate” but their slide has it as “success rate”……

    • DrugMonkey said

      but see, this seems to imply that the investigator funding rate should be the number of PIs who have been awarded *at least one* grant divided by those who have applied *for one or more* grants in the FY.

      as distinct from treating all submissions from a single PI as being individual data points- which might serve as the applicant *success* rate to contrast with the *funding* rate as I outline it above. I’d be interested to see that difference, and the break down of PIs who submit 1, 2, 3…X grants in a FY.

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: