Race, ethnicity, and NIH research awards

Science. 2011 Aug 19;333(6045):1015-9. doi: 10.1126/science.1196783.


We investigated the association between a U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 applicant's self-identified race or ethnicity and the probability of receiving an award by using data from the NIH IMPAC II grant database, the Thomson Reuters Web of Science, and other sources. Although proposals with strong priority scores were equally likely to be funded regardless of race, we find that Asians are 4 percentage points and black or African-American applicants are 13 percentage points less likely to receive NIH investigator-initiated research funding compared with whites. After controlling for the applicant's educational background, country of origin, training, previous research awards, publication record, and employer characteristics, we find that black applicants remain 10 percentage points less likely than whites to be awarded NIH research funding. Our results suggest some leverage points for policy intervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Asian People / statistics & numerical data
  • Biomedical Research*
  • Black People / statistics & numerical data
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data
  • Databases, Factual
  • Education, Graduate
  • Ethnicity* / statistics & numerical data
  • Fellowships and Scholarships
  • Financing, Government
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Models, Statistical
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.) / economics*
  • Peer Review, Research
  • Publishing
  • Racial Groups* / statistics & numerical data
  • Research Personnel* / economics
  • Research Personnel* / statistics & numerical data
  • Research Support as Topic / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States
  • White People / statistics & numerical data