The success rate for competing research project grant applications submitted to the US National Institutes of Health fell in 2013, writes Sally Rockey, the deputy director for extramural research at NIH, at the Rock Talk blog.
She says that nearly 49,600 competing research project grant applications were submitted to NIH in 2013, down from just over 51,300 applications in fiscal year 2012. This year, NIH made 8,310 competing research project grant awards as compared to 9,032 in 2012. That, Rockey says, works out to a 16.8 percent overall success rate for applications submitted this year, while 2012 saw a 17.2 percent success rate.
Some might have expected a greater drop in that success rate, Rockey says, as NIH awarded some 8 percent fewer competing awards in 2013 than in 2012.
That drop in the number of awards is mostly due to the across-the-board sequester cuts that trimmed some 5 percent off of the agency's budget, and estimates from earlier in the year feared that grant success rates would fall to 15 percent.
This smaller decrease in success rates may partially be explained by the lower number of applications made, Rockey notes.