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I need to understand the difference between the "success rate", "award rate" and "funding rate", the metrics used by the National Institute of Health as summary statistics for their research grants.

I have found this article but I still can't understand.

In particular, the article talks about "projects" and "individual application submission" as if they were two different things, like in this passage:

We calculate success rates this way because historically we have been interested in the success of a project or an idea getting funded, rather than of the success of the individual application submission

Another article that I found is this one, which details the mathematical formulas for the three metrics.

The difference between "success rate" and "award rate" is that the former has in the denominator "applications submitted (excluding resubmissions in that fiscal year)" and the latter has in the denominator "applications submitted (including resubmissions in that fiscal year)"

So my questions are:

  1. What is a "resubmission"? How is it defined?
  2. What is the difference between "projects" and "individual application submission"?
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1 Answer 1

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A resubmission means you submit, don't get the grant but do okay (you can actually resubmit any score even a non discussion, but whether it's likely to be a winner the second time is maybe questionable. Though it's also not too strange to submit a vastly improved proposal and still get a worse score. Different reviewers different result), then resubmit to hopefully get a better score with reviewer feedback. It's a new application but for the same project. Ordinarily you can only resubmit once, after that you have to design a new grant.

A project or idea is a project or idea. It's a thing you want to do and want money to do it.

An individual application is an individual application. You submit one when you want money, and then you either get money or don't. You might have more than one application for the same project or idea if it doesn't get funded on the first opportunity.

I don't think any special terminology or definition is being used here, just words in their common meaning.

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  • bryan, since you seem knowledgeable about this, can you edit your answer to clarify these points? (1) As I understand it, for example R01 grants can be either investigator-initiated (The NIH was doing nothing and I bother the NIH to get funding) or solicited via a Request for Applications (the NIH issue a RFA, with a timeline, and I apply to it). Is the "resubmission" thing valid for both cases? In case of a RFA, do I have to resubmit inside the timeline given in the RFA? (2) What is the point of a resubmission if I don't get the grant? What do I change? ..... Commented Jul 5, 2021 at 5:50
  • ..... In a resubmission, what do I change to get the funding I didn't get the first time? The timeline of the project? The amount awarded? The research methodology? I promise to put in more effort than what I promised the first time? That such of thing? Commented Jul 5, 2021 at 5:51
  • In any way, thanks for the answer :) Commented Jul 5, 2021 at 5:53
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    @robertspierre The NIH website is very helpful for these things, check the link in my answer. 6th bullet point for your first question. For the rest... A SE Q and A and especially a comment is not enough space to explain "how do I get an NIH grant". I would suggest working through your university grants office and at minimum consulting with someone that has previously been NIH funded.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Jul 5, 2021 at 15:07
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    @Aruralreader You can actually resubmit any score even a non discussion, but whether it's likely to be a winner the second time is maybe questionable. Though it's also not too strange to submit a vastly improved proposal and still get a worse score. Different reviewers different result.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 0:49

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