Development and testing of a database of NIH research funding of AAPM members: A report from the AAPM Working Group for the Development of a Research Database (WGDRD)

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Abstract

Purpose

To produce and maintain a database of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) members, to perform a top-level analysis of these data, and to make these data (hereafter referred to as the AAPM research database) available for the use of the AAPM and its members.

Methods

NIH-funded research dating back to 1985 is available for public download through the NIH exporter website, and AAPM membership information dating back to 2002 was supplied by the AAPM. To link these two sources of data, a data mining algorithm was developed in Matlab. The false-positive rate was manually estimated based on a random sample of 100 records, and the false-negative rate was assessed by comparing against 99 member-supplied PI_ID numbers. The AAPM research database was queried to produce an analysis of trends and demographics in research funding dating from 2002 to 2015.

Results

A total of 566 PI_ID numbers were matched to AAPM members. False-positive and -negative rates were respectively 4% (95% CI: 1–10%, N = 100) and 10% (95% CI: 5–18%, N = 99). Based on analysis of the AAPM research database, in 2015 the NIH awarded $USD 110M to members of the AAPM. The four NIH institutes which historically awarded the most funding to AAPM members were the National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. In 2015, over 85% of the total NIH research funding awarded to AAPM members was via these institutes, representing 1.1% of their combined budget. In the same year, 2.0% of AAPM members received NIH funding for a total of $116M, which is lower than the historic mean of $120M (in 2015 USD).

Conclusions

A database of NIH-funded research awarded to AAPM members has been developed and tested using a data mining approach, and a top-level analysis of funding trends has been performed. Current funding of AAPM members is lower than the historic mean. The database will be maintained by members of the Working group for the development of a research database (WGDRD) on an annual basis, and is available to the AAPM, its committees, working groups, and members for download through the AAPM electronic content website. A wide range of questions regarding financial and demographic funding trends can be addressed by these data. This report has been approved for publication by the AAPM Science Council.

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