Staying at the cutting edge involves more than just keeping up with the journals and attending scientific conferences. Here’s how to use NIH databases to learn about emerging trends in funded research—and potentially find new collaborators, too.
NIH's Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT) site offers many reports on NIH spending, as well as two key tools for you to explore: Research, Condition, and Disease Categories (RCDC) and RePORTER.
RePORT for the Big Picture
NIH’s RePORT site lets you access and refine interactive charts and reports that are connected to multiple NIH data sources.
Estimates of Funding for Various Research, Condition, and Disease Categories (RCDC) helps you find the annual support level for each category of research.
- RCDC includes over a decade of data and uses projections for the current fiscal year.
- NIH assigns research to the relevant categories based on the text you use in your applications.
Awards by Location and Organization shows you year-by-year NIH funding by institution, state, and congressional district.
NIH Data Book reports on extramural grants and contracts, awardee organizations, trainees and fellows, and the national biomedical workforce.
Matchmaker allows you to enter scientific text (such as a project abstract) and choose either of these options:
- Similar Projects button
- Use the resulting list of projects to work out which institute and study section to target, or names of others in the field to connect with.
- Keep in mind that if a study section code begins with “Z”, then the study section was a Special Emphasis Panel and you cannot request this option in your application.
- Similar Program Officials button
- This gives you a graph of relevant institutes as well as a table of NIH program officers ranked by the number of relevant projects in their portfolios.
- Click the number in the Projects column to see the list of awards.
If you drill down far enough through the RCDC site options described above, you'll end up in the RePORTER system.
RePORTER for Specifics
The NIH RePORTER search form is your gateway into NIH's free database of funded projects, investigators, publications, and patents.
The single Quick Search field on the main RePORTER page accepts all sorts of information, e.g., the area of research, name of an investigator, or a specific organization. RePORTER will match your terms with projects and sort them by relevance.
For a working example, use this Search for Active NIAID Projects.
RePORTER search results show you lists of projects and names of funded researchers. This can be a great way to get a snapshot of your field and look for potential collaborators or competitors. You may spot research areas that are underrepresented or highly supported.
To see active projects broken out by NIH institute or center, use RePORTER's Browse NIH option.
If you have an eRA Commons account, you can use eRA's LikeThis (A Thesaurus-Based Search Tool) to find funded projects and publications as well. Both Matchmaker and LikeThis leverage RePORTER data, so try both and see which you like best.
RePORTER’s Publications Search feature lets you enter a comma-separated list of PubMed IDs (PMID) or PubMed Central IDs (PMC ID). It will return publications associated with extramural or intramural funded projects.
Save Your RePORT Work
Download or share your RePORT or RePORTER search results using controls on the upper right for each table or visualization.
NIH also launched a new RePORTER API so advanced users can write computational procedures to retrieve award data.
Because ClinicalTrials.gov shares public information about all NIH-funded clinical trials, you can search for other researchers’ projects to uncover new developments in clinical research and find potential collaborators.
As one example, here are Search Results for Clinical Trials Related to COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2.
- Advanced Search—Search by keyword for condition or other terms as detailed at How To Use Advanced Search.
- See Studies by Topic—Search by category such as condition, drug intervention, sponsor, or location.
- See Studies on Map—Search by region or country. Here’s How To Find Studies by Topic or on a Map.
The search results interface offers many features so you can customize your display.
- Learn How To Use Search Results and How To Modify a Search.
- After searching, follow the link on the title of a clinical trial for additional details as described at How To Read a Study Record.
- Discover How To Find Results of Studies on ClinicalTrials.gov, published in medical journals, or both.
Once you fine-tune a search to your liking, you can Subscribe to Search Results or use the Download button.