Association of National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Career Development Awards With Subsequent Research Project Grant Funding

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Abstract

Importance

Investing in the next generation of researchers is essential, as recently highlighted in the 21st Century Cures Act. From its inception, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) has supported training and career development to ensure a robust pipeline of investigators who are prepared to lead their respective fields of inquiry. In recent years, the NICHD has emphasized institutional over individual training awards to a greater degree than many other National Institutes of Health institutes of similar size.

Objective

To evaluate the success of individuals supported by NICHD career development and training awards, as measured by subsequent application and receipt of independent National Institutes of Health research project grant funding.

Design, Setting, and Participants

This retrospective cohort study identified 417 physician-scholars who were supported by NICHD career development awards between October 1, 1999, and September 30, 2001. This period was selected to allow adequate follow-up of research project grant applications and funding. Among these physician-scholars, 355 met inclusion criteria.

Main Outcomes and Measures

The primary outcomes were the numbers of research project grant applications submitted and, of these, the numbers that were successfully funded.

Results

Among 355 physician-scientists, scholars who had an MD degree only and received a K award or both an individual K award and institutional K12 support were more likely than those who received only K12 support (individual K only vs institutional K12 only: odds ratio [OR], 4.86; 95% CI, 1.83-13.62; both K and K12 vs K12 only: OR, 3.19; 95% CI, 1.46-7.10) to apply for subsequent project grant funding (88.0% vs 82.8% vs 60.1%, respectively; P < .001) and to receive it (60.0% vs 60.9% vs 32.9%, respectively; P < .001). For physicians with both MD and PhD degrees, neither application nor funding rates were statistically significantly different whether their career development was supported by individual or institutional awards.

Conclusions and Relevance

Physician-scholars are more likely to apply for and receive a National Institutes of Health research grant if they are trained on an individual career development award, with or without an institutional training award. Based on the data, the NICHD intends to provide a greater proportion of its career development fund allocation to individual awards. The NICHD recognizes the importance of institutional awards and will continue to support them. The NICHD remains committed to training and intends to maintain its investment in training and career development awards going forward.

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