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Research Support Numbers

The US National Institutes of Health last year supported about 2,500 organizations, including 640 organizations that received competing research project grants, writes Michael Lauer, the deputy director for extramural research at NIH, at his Nexus blog. He adds that those awards involved more than 11,000 principal investigators.

In addition, Lauer notes that the size of those RPGs went up by about 4 percent from $499,221 in fiscal year 2016 to $520,429 in fiscal year 2017, and that R01 equivalent grants also went up by about 5 percent, from $458,287 to $482,395.

The success rate of RPGs dipped very slightly for fiscal year 2017, falling from 19.1 percent in 2016 to 18.7 percent in 2017, which was still slightly higher than the 2014 or 2015 rates. R01s, meanwhile, had a success rate of 19.3 percent in 2017, as compared to 20.0 percent in 2016.

"Success rates continue to remain far below the 30 percent levels we saw 15 [years to] 20 years ago, during the NIH doubling; the low success rates reflect the hypercompetitive environment we continue to face," Lauer writes.

The Scan

Machine Learning Helps ID Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatic Islet Beta Cell Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes

The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.