Another Look at Measuring the Scientific Output and Impact of NIGMS Grants

In a recent post, I described initial steps toward analyzing the research output of NIGMS R01 and P01 grants. The post stimulated considerable discussion in the scientific community and, most recently, a Nature news article Exit icon.

In my earlier post, I noted two major observations. First, the output (measured by the number of publications from 2007 through mid-2010 that could be linked to all NIH Fiscal Year 2006 grants from a given investigator) did not increase linearly with increased total annual direct cost support, but rather appeared to reach a plateau. Second, there were considerable ranges in output at all levels of funding.

These observations are even more apparent in the new plot below, which removes the binning in displaying the points corresponding to individual investigators.

A plot of the number of grant-linked publications from 2007 to mid-2010 for 2,938 investigators who held at least one NIGMS R01 or P01 grant in Fiscal Year 2006 as a function of the total annual direct cost for those grants. For this data set, the overall correlation coefficient between the number of publications and the total annual direct cost is 0.14.

A plot of the number of grant-linked publications from 2007 to mid-2010 for 2,938 investigators who held at least one NIGMS R01 or P01 grant in Fiscal Year 2006 as a function of the total annual direct cost for those grants. For this data set, the overall correlation coefficient between the number of publications and the total annual direct cost is 0.14.

The 10th Anniversary of ABRCMS: Preparing Underrepresented Minority Students for Scientific Careers

The 10th Anniversary of ABRCMS: Preparing Underrepresented Minority Students for Scientific Careers

Last week, I had the privilege of giving a keynote address at the 10th Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) Exit icon in Charlotte, North Carolina. The conference, sponsored by NIGMS and organized by NIGMS Council member Cliff Houston, had a record attendance of 3,100, including more than 2,000 students and about 20 NIGMS staff members.

The meeting contributes in two major ways to the goal of a scientific workforce that reflects the diversity of the U.S. population. It provides a forum for promising scientists from underrepresented groups to showcase their talent and knowledge and make important training and career connections. It also gives faculty mentors valuable resources for facilitating their students’ success.

My address was organized around the themes from Randy Pausch’s lecture “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams Exit icon,” and it described key events and strategies that facilitated my own path to a career in science. I greatly enjoyed discussing science and career opportunities with many of the students at the poster session and after my talk.

Other keynote speakers at this impressive conference included Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Maya Angelou, NIH Director Francis Collins and NIGMS grantee Carolyn Bertozzi.

Jilliene Mitchell, who staffed the NIGMS exhibit booth and talked to a lot of attendees, writes:

The energy level among the meeting attendees soared through the roof of the Charlotte Convention Center. The undergraduate and graduate students were tremendously enthusiastic about networking, presenting their research, listening to scientific talks and getting advice about their career paths from accomplished scientists. The NIGMS exhibit booth received a lot of traffic, with students lined up to talk about training opportunities and faculty members lined up to discuss their grants.

Throughout the conference, I encountered many students who thanked NIGMS for sponsoring ABRCMS. One postdoc summed it up best when she said, “This is the best career development workshop I’ve been to—it’s huge!”

These video clips I took capture the mood and excitement.

The announcement for next year’s ABRCMS meeting is expected soon, and we will post information here when it is available.

Assessing the Outcomes of NIGMS Glue Grants

NIGMS Glue Grants Outcomes Assessment, November 4-December 15In September 2009, we announced that we were not reissuing the funding opportunity announcement for our Large-Scale Collaborative Project Awards (Glue Grant) program, which has supported research teams tackling significant and complex problems that are beyond the means of any one research group. We are currently assessing the need for this type of support and how best to manage programs of such scope and magnitude.

As part of this effort, we are conducting an assessment of the glue grant program’s major outcomes and their impact. We’re seeking your views through voluntary input forms posted on the NIGMS Web site. The forms will ask about various aspects of the glue grant program as a whole and about specific glue grant projects, including:

You can read more about the assessment and view the forms at http://www.nigms.nih.gov/Initiatives/Collaborative/
GlueGrants/OutcomeAssessment
. The site will be open for input until December 15, 2010.

UPDATE: We have extended the comment period from December 15 to January 15.