NIH Continues Exploration of Application Trends Amid the Pandemic

Funding News Edition: July 20, 2022
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In Another Look at Applications Submitted During the Pandemic (Part 5): A Focus on Career Stage, NIH shares data on the number of R01-equivalent applications submitted by principal investigators (PIs) at different career stages—early-stage investigator (ESI), non-ESI new investigator, and experienced investigator—over five consecutive years to determine whether the pandemic had any marked impacts on application trends. NIH also broke out the ESI career stage into gender and underrepresented minority groups with the same objective in mind: to detect disruptions brought on by the pandemic.

Between September 8, 2020, and January 7, 2021, NIH received an increased number of applications; over 1,000 more than the year before and over 1,500 more than the year after. This may be because investigators spent more time away from labs (i.e., outside the physical workspace) during the first 10 months of the pandemic and concentrated more on writing grant applications as a result. At the same time, the proportion of applications submitted by PIs at each career stage remained stable over each of the past five years.

Among ESIs, the proportion of R01-equivalent applications submitted by women, to include multiple PI applications where each PI is a woman, has increased by more than 10 percent over the past five years. Similarly, the proportion of R01-equivalent applications submitted by underrepresented minorities, including multiple PI applications, has increased by more than 20 percent over the past five years.

NIH will continue to monitor the proportions of ESI applications submitted by women and underrepresented minorities. Follow the link above to review the data yourself.

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