Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Success Rates (Somewhat) Demystified

At the Extramural Nexus blog, NIH Office of Extramural Research Director Sally Rockey simplifies the concepts of "paylines, percentiles, and success rates" for grant applicants. Rockey says that "as budgets flatten and tighten," the blogosphere is buzzing with PIs wondering how NIH can "have a success rate of 20 percent but a payline at the seventh percentile?" she says. In her post, Rockey breaks down the terminology and crunches the numbers for percentile rank, paylines, and success rates, providing links to NIH references along the way. In the end, she says, "there are several real-life reasons why paylines — the ones that use percentiles — can be either higher or lower than success rates." For example, Rockey says that NIH still factors applications that are not "percentiled" into its success rate calculations and that success rate of a given year "is a reflection of the funded applications and can include applications reviewed in the previous fiscal year, whereas the payline encompasses only applications reviewed in that fiscal year." With all of these factors, and others, compounding the calculations, it can be difficult for a grant applicant to estimate his or her chances of being funded. To that end, Rockey says that a PI's "best advisor on this issue" is the program official.

Elsewhere at the Extramural Nexus, NIH points applicants to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' Web site, where the agency has posted four funded R01 applications for users' reference.

The Scan

Transcriptomic, Epigenetic Study Appears to Explain Anti-Viral Effects of TB Vaccine

Researchers report in Science Advances on an interferon signature and long-term shifts in monocyte cell DNA methylation in Bacille Calmette-Guérin-vaccinated infant samples.

DNA Storage Method Taps Into Gene Editing Technology

With a dual-plasmid system informed by gene editing, researchers re-wrote DNA sequences in E. coli to store Charles Dickens prose over hundreds of generations, as they recount in Science Advances.

Researchers Model Microbiome Dynamics in Effort to Understand Chronic Human Conditions

Investigators demonstrate in PLOS Computational Biology a computational method for following microbiome dynamics in the absence of longitudinally collected samples.

New Study Highlights Role of Genetics in ADHD

Researchers report in Nature Genetics on differences in genetic architecture between ADHD affecting children versus ADHD that persists into adulthood or is diagnosed in adults.