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Shifting Demographics among Research Project Grant Awardees at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Filetype[PDF - 3.86 MB]


Details:
  • Pubmed ID:
    27978544
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC5158323
  • Description:
    The present study was initiated because of concerns expressed by NHLBI-funded mid-career investigators regarding perceived difficulties in the renewal of their grant awards. This led us to ask: "Are mid-career investigators experiencing disproportionate difficulties in the advancement of their professional careers?" Our portfolio analysis indicates that there has been a significant and evolving shift in the demographics of research project grant (RPG) awardees at NHLBI. In 1998, mid-career (ages 41-55) investigators constituted approximately 60% of all investigators with the remaining 40% being equally divided between early-stage (ages 24-40) investigators and established (ages 56 to 70 and older) investigators. However, since 1998, the proportion of established RPG awardees has been increasing in a slowly progressive and strikingly linear fashion. At the same time the proportion of early-stage awardees fell precipitously until 2006 and then stabilized. During the same period, the proportion of mid-career awardees, which had been relatively stable through 2006, began to fall significantly. In examining potential causes of these demographic shifts we have identified certain inherent properties within the RPG award system that appear to promote an increasingly more established awardee population and a persistent decrease in the proportion of mid-career investigators. A collateral result of these demographic shifts, when combined with level or declining funding, is a significant reduction in the number of RPG awards received by NHLBI mid-career investigators and a corresponding decrease in the number of independent research laboratories.

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