In academia, one of the best ways to get funding for projects is to write proposals for research projects.

However, there is not much transparency in the process. For intellectual property reasons, many departments won't make their grant proposals for specific grants public. Unfortunately, this has an added side effect of not knowing some important facts about the process as a whole.

Some questions I'm interested in answering:

  • How likely is it for certain schools to receive rewards over others? What is the percentage chance you have of getting an award if you apply? (Total grants received / Total grants applied for each school)
  • What is the popularity of various grant applications? How many schools are applying, for how much money?
  • What is the likelihood of being awarded a grant based on gender, race, or professional status?

Does anyone know if data like this is available for any of the U.S. government grant systems, particularly for university research?

Furthermore, it seems like one could also run a similar analysis on "awards", which might be harder to analyze... (Difference between grants and awards)


1 Answer 1


The United States National Institutes of Health provides substantial data on grant success rate.

You can for example, find the success rate by type, Institute/Center, and activity code

The report entitled "RPG and R01-Equivalent Funding and Success Rates by Race-Ethnicity FY2010-FY2021" puts the inequity of the NIH on full display.

I am not sure if the NIH provides success rate by institution, but you can get NIH Awards by Location & Organization.

In theory, you can even request the full text of funded NIH grant applications using the Freedom of Information Act. As the NIH notes:

Before releasing a funded grant application, we will ask the grantee for advice concerning patent rights and other confidential commercial or financial information. We will consider that advice and, if we agree, we will remove that information from the application before we release it. In addition, we will remove information that would be an invasion of personal privacy if released.

  • Why does the NIH do this, but the NSF does not? May 13 at 15:10
  • 3
    It seems like the NSF does? I'm just not familiar because I've never applied for NSF funding.
    – Ian
    May 13 at 15:31
  • 1
    Regarding the FOIA idea, see academia.stackexchange.com/questions/8111/…. Note in particular that it is considered unethical to use FOIA'ed grant proposals as a source for research ideas, and that the requester's name is made public. May 14 at 3:38

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