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5 Facts about Funding

  1. Each NIH institute has different paylines depending on funding mechanism

Paylines vary considerably across NIH institutes.1 This largely depends on the budget of a given institute. Overall, paylines are set conservatively so institutes can make sure their budget lasts the entire year. As the fiscal year comes to an end, however, many institutes will fund grants outside of their payline to ensure their budget is used up.

  1. The number of R01 applications submitted is 3.4 times what it was in 1970

Success rate is defined as the number of reviewed grant applications that receive funding.2 The number of R01 applications has steadily increased since 1970 but the number of grants awarded has not increased at the same rate resulting in success rate from about 34% in 1970 to about 19% in 2015.

  1. In FY 2016 Congress began restoring research budgets

From 2003 to 2015 the NIH lost 22% of its capacity to fund research due to budget cuts, sequestration, and inflationary loss.3 However, in 2016 Congress raised the NIH budget 5.9% and with the passing of the 21st Century Cures Act, the federal research budget will continue to increase. If this trend continues, we will hopefully be back on track with pre-sequestration levels of funding.

  1. Before 1945 science was funded by private donors

Prior to World War II, science was largely funded by private philanthropists.4 There were no peer review grant applications and very little federal funding. As NIH success rates have declined, researchers are returning to private grants as a source of funding. Databases such as Guidestar5, Foundation Center6, and GrantScoop7 provide researchers with lists of nonprofits, grants, and their restrictions.

  1. The US and China spend more than any other country on research and development8

The US and China are powerhouses of research and development. Most recent figures show that the US spends about $473 billion and China spends about $409 billion. These large investments in R&D indicate that the countries have a thriving entrepreneurial spirit and economy. While other countries may spend a greater percentage of their GDP on research, nobody outspends the US and China in terms of dollars.