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National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant awards: does past performance predict future success?

Authors
  • Prasad, Joni M.1, 1
  • Shipley, Michael T.1
  • Rogers, Terry B.1, 1
  • Puche, Adam C.1
  • 1 University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA , Baltimore (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Palgrave Communications
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Publication Date
Mar 27, 2020
Volume
6
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1057/s41599-020-0432-5
Source
Springer Nature
License
Green

Abstract

The NIH is the major federal biomedical research funding agency within the United States, and NIH funding has become a priority in institutional decisions on faculty recruitment, salary, promotion, and tenure. The implicit assumption is that well-funded investigators will maintain their funding success; however, our analysis of NIH awardees from 2000 to 2015 suggests that regardless of how well funded an investigator is, their research portfolio exhibits “regression to the mean,” matching the typical NIH funding profile within just 10–15 years. Thus, outperformance in past funding is not a strong predictor of future outperformance in funding success. This study indicates that faculty performance should not be solely judged upon grant success but should include other institutional mission priorities such as provision of clinical care, education, and service to community/profession.

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