TABLE 2-1 NIH Clinical Research Awards, FY 1996-FY 2001

Fiscal Year

Total Competing Awards

Clinical Research Awards

Percent of Total Clinical Research

Number

Amount ($ millions)

Number

Amount ($ millions)

Awards

Funding

1996

10,493

2,361

2,795

906

27

38

1997

11,592

2,572

2,767

877

24

34

1998

11,780

2,984

2,882

1,000

24

34

1999

13,971

3,946

3,470

1,257

25

32

2000

15,357

5,278

3,862

1,722

25

33

2001

14,622

4,717

3,874

1,609

27

34

 

SOURCE: NIH (2002a).

2001, NIH grants had increased by almost 50 percent, representing more than a 50 percent increase in their dollar value (see Table 2-1). The increase in clinical research grants has been roughly comparable to the increase in total competing awards.

M.D. or Ph.D. rates of applications have seen slight improvements. The number of awards has increased substantially for first-time M.D. applicants, but as of 2001 there had been no significant change in the number of applicants (see Table 2-2). The same is true for Ph.D.s. Between 1997 and 2001 the overall M.D. success rate increased to between 32 percent and 35 percent (see Table 2-3).

The average growth rate for M.D. applicants was only 2.30 percent versus 4.05 percent for Ph.D.s. A concern is whether this flat rate of growth will ensure an adequate supply of M.D. applicants in an increasingly clinic-oriented research environment.

The renewal rate for RO1-funded (RO1’s are research grants awarded to independent investigators at academic institutions) clinical investigators has been lower than that of nonclinical research grantees. A little over 30 percent of all nonclinical investigators who received awards in 1996 and reapplied in 1999-2001 were renewed, whereas only 17 percent of clinical research investigators were renewed. Of the 405 clinical researchers who applied for awards in 1966, only 47 percent sought renewal, versus the 68 percent of the 954 nonclinical researchers who sought awards in 1996.2 Although targeted clinical research career awards have been successful, the



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