Find a Fiscal Year 2021 Research Overview, Related Databases

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If you are keen on data, you’ll likely want to read on for funding and success rate data on fiscal year (FY) 2021 NIH and NIAID awards, as well as databases you can use to find more information.

Extramural Grant Investments in Research

Dr. Michael Lauer, NIH deputy director for extramural research, presented FY 2021 By the Numbers in a March 7, 2022 Open Mike blog post to share recent application and award counts, as well as success rates. The information is helpful for understanding the breadth of NIH-funded extramural research, but we warn against using the data as a basis for deciding your application’s type (i.e., targeting the activity code with the highest success rate) or budget (i.e., requesting the “average” amount). Those choices should always be driven by the scientific needs of your planned research project.

NIH Grants by the Numbers

NIH’s FY 2021 appropriation totaled $42.9 billion, of which it spent $32.3 billion to make 56,794 competing and noncompeting awards to 2,696 U.S. and international organizations.

For competing Research Project Grants (RPGs, e.g., R01, R21):

  • Extramural researchers submitted 58,872 applications versus 55,038, which represents a 7 percent change from FY 2020.
  • NIH funded 11,229 grants, leading to a success rate of 19.1 percent, a 1.5 percentage point decrease from FY 2020.
  • Compared to FY 2020, NIH spending in this classification rose by 2.8 percent to $23.280 billion.
  • The average award’s total costs was $581,293, an increase of $14,549 or 2.6 percent from FY 2020.

For the subset of R01-equivalents, the data show the following:

  • Extramural researchers submitted 37,987 applications.
  • NIH funded 7,627 awards.
  • The success rate dropped 1.3 percentage points to 20.1 percent.
  • The average award’s budget was $571,561, an increase of $11,881 or 2.1 percent from FY 2020.
  • Compared to FY 2020, NIH spending in this classification rose by 4.2 percent to $18.134 billion.

Check Out Data-Related Resources

For access to reports, data, and analyses of NIH research activities, go to the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT) website. It also has two key tools worth exploring: Categorical Spending and NIH RePORTER.

The Categorical Spending page leverages NIH’s Research, Condition, and Disease Categories (RCDC) to provide details on annual support for each category of research. NIH uses RCDC to categorize its funding in medical research at the end of each fiscal year and reports funding to the public for many categories. It also provides funding data for categories, beyond those that are public, which are used for NIH internal planning and analysis. Learn more by reading the Overview of RCDC.

For entry into a free database of funded projects, investigators, publication, and patents, check out NIH RePORTER. The site lets you search for keywords while filtering for information about a grantee institution, project, or funding institute, e.g., NIAID. Try a RePORTER Search for NIH FY 2021 Projects to practice using the tool.

Additional Resources

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