In FY 2004, NIGMS received $1,905,000,000 in its appropriation, an overall increase of 3.1 percent over FY 2003. With appropriate financial management, NIGMS expects:
- to maintain a success rate of approximately 30 percent for research project grants (RPGs).
- competing RPGs in FY 2004 to be approximately 3 percent larger on average than in FY 2003. The total increase in the average cost of a competing award since FY 1998 (when NIGMS budget levels began to increase substantially) is expected to be about 46 percent.
- to reach these goals by making reductions from requested levels in both new (Type 1) and competing continuation (Type 2) R01 awards.
- to consider all reductions on a case by case basis.
- not to apply commitment management to competing awards.
While the success rate projected for FY 2004 is only slightly lower and the increase in the average size of a competing award is comparable to long-term historical averages prior to the NIH budget doubling (33% and 3%, respectively, in 1990-1998), they are lower than what NIGMS has experienced in recent years. A major factor in this lower success rate and in the need to limit growth in the size of competing awards has been an unprecedented increase in the number of competing RPG applications that NIGMS has received for funding in FY 2004. For example, the number of new R01 and R21 applications received for FY 2004 is 21% larger than the number received in FY 2003. This alone can account for a reduction of 4 to 5 percentage points in NIGMS’s RPG success rate.
FY 2004 Financial Management Strategy
RPGs represent approximately 80 percent of the NIGMS research budget, and R01 grants represent approximately 85 percent of RPG awards. Therefore, financial management of R01s is an essential component of the overall NIGMS financial management strategy.
This strategy is based on the dual premise that:
- NIGMS will honor its commitments for continued support of ongoing grants, and
- NIGMS will sustain a vigorous portfolio of new and competing continuation awards.
To ensure that these goals are met, NIGMS plans to restrict the average cost of new and competing renewal R01 awards through reductions from the total amount of funds requested. (NIGMS considers all such reductions on a case by case basis.) In addition, NIGMS, along with the rest of NIH, maintains the average length of a grant at approximately four years. Exceptions to this four-year limit include support for new investigators, MERIT awardees, program project grants, and other awards specifically designated by the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council. Without limitations on the length of grant awards, too large a proportion of any single year's budget would be devoted to paying noncompeting grants, leaving little available for new awards. This limitation on the length of awards, established at the direction of Congressional appropriations committees, ensures that sufficient funds are available each year to fund new grants or renewal awards that have undergone peer review.
By following this financial management strategy, NIGMS plans to make approximately 950 competing RPG awards in FY 2004, and the overall success rate
at the end of the fiscal year is projected to be approximately 30 percent. Despite the reductions from requested levels of support, the average project cost of a non-SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) RPG is projected to be 3 percent greater than in FY 2003, and about 46 percent greater than the FY 1998 average.
is defined as the percentage of reviewed applications that receive funding in a fiscal year. It is determined by dividing the number of competing applications funded by the sum of the total number of competing applications reviewed in the same fiscal year and the number of funded carryovers (funded applications that were reviewed the previous year). Note that applications that have one or more amendments in the same fiscal year are only counted once. Success rate should not be confused with percentile, which is a measure of how well an application scored in relation to others in a defined pool. A chart
showing the success rate of NIGMS RPGs over the past five years is shown below.
Research project grants
include awards made under the following mechanisms: R01, R37 (MERIT), R55, R15, R21, P01, and U01.
Figure legend: The FY 2004 success rate for RPGs is expected to be about 30%. Success rate is an indicator of the percent of applications funded. Success rate should not be confused with percentile, which is a measure of how well an application scored in relation to others in a defined pool.
Figure legend: The average cost of competing RPG awards has increased by 42 percent since FY 1998, and is projected to increase another 4 percent over the FY 1998 average in FY 2004.