publication date: Feb. 16, 2018

NCI Director’s Report

Sharpless: NCI should increase funding for RPG pool to maintain success rates for R01s

NCI may need to invest at least $125 million in new money in the Research Project Grant pool in 2018 if the institute plans on keeping the success rates for R01s comparable to 2017, said NCI Director Ned Sharpless.

“Success rates have gone down, because of this phenomenon of a lot more new grants coming in—new proposals coming in than funded awards,” Sharpless said at a Feb. 13 cyber meeting of the National Cancer Advisory Board. “And additionally, to complicate matters, the average award size on an R01 has been increasing steadily since 2013.”

NCI’s current Research Project Grants pool is funded at about $2 billion, which is over a third of the institute’s $5.6 billion budget. The success rates for unsolicited R01 awards have been slowly declining—from 15 percent in FY 2013 to 12 percent in FY 2017.

“I believe—I’ll go ahead and tell what I think—I believe we should do this,” Sharpless said. “I think the RPG pool is one of the best things the NCI does. I think it’s where innovative great science comes out that cures cancer, and it’s also where a number of important translational discoveries are made.”

In his remarks, Sharpless said he will be concluding his “listening and learning tour” in March.

“A lot of people are still asking me what’s my vision for the NCI? And my answer is it’s still in progress,” Sharpless said. “There’s this bin of things that we have to do that are particularly pressing issues for the NCI, and we’ve discussed one of those in the past. The [NIH] Clinical … Continue reading Sharpless: NCI should increase funding for RPG pool to maintain success rates for R01s

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