NIGMS director Jeremy Berg has posted more grant application outcome data at the Feedback Loop. This time it's an analysis of NIGMS R01 applications from January 2010, breaking it down by PI status, and Berg shows that "many of the awards made for applications with less favorable percentile scores go to early stage and new investigators," which, he adds, is "consistent with recent NIH policies." At his blog DrugMonkey adds: "Sure, there are going to be cases to explain such as the poor sucker with the fantastic score that didn’t get funded. But these data point to the relative consistency with which their apparent exceptional funding decisions (aka "pickups") are made." Writedit has her take here.
In addition, Berg has a graph that shows the distribution of applications from different classes of PIs — the largest class is established PIs submitting competing renewals, and their applications have the best percentile scores, too.