A Comparison of Large Grants and Research Project Grants Awarded by the National Institutes of Health

by Grace M. Carter, Clara S. Lai, C. Lee

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Compares research funded through large grants and traditional RO1 grants by using descriptions of research from journal citation data, and data from the NIH peer review process, as surrogates for the scientific merit of research output. Many of the findings confirm that center programs achieved results consistent with their goals; e.g., the Dental Research Institutes attracted people who otherwise would not have worked on dental-related problems; Ph.D.'s in some centers collaborated with M.D.'s more than did Ph.D.'s in RO1 programs; articles emanating from centers were cited more frequently in clinical journals; and several centers successfully promoted interdisciplinary collaboration. Some large-grant research may have been of lower average quality than RO1 research. Center personnel fared worse in the competition for RO1 grants, and center articles published in basic science journals were cited less frequently than RO1 articles. These findings were not consistent across all types of large grants, however. (See also R-1583.)

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