The above is the key data. A take on it from Tyler Cowen’s Marginal Revolution here. I’ve been familiar with these reports for some time. When I was serving on the National Library of Medicine’s Board of Regents, Michael Lauer presented this more nuanced version of the finding, here.
The story is here. The basic idea as I see it is that NIH plans to save money by trying to eliminate non-competitive grant applications on the front-end. The key statistical finding is that there is apparently no correlation between a university’s number of NIH grant applications and its number of NIH awards.
Many loyal readers know that as an NIH alum, I’m always interested in the latest from my former agency. Here’s a very interesting report on grants that are funded in spite not quite making the mark at peer-review.
The bottom line–at least 19% of NIH’s basic research portfolio is funded for reasons that go beyond quality–may stoke simmering concerns about the agency’s policy that favors young investigators.