An Evaluation of the NIH Research Career Development Award

by Grace M. Carter, John D. Winkler, Andrea K. Biddle-Zehnder


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This report evaluates the Research Career Development Award (RCDA) program of the National Institutes of Health. It describes how Initial Review Groups (IRGs) select candidates to receive an RCDA, and how the careers and accomplishments of RCDA recipients differ from those of other researchers, and it attempts to determine whether these differences are attributable to the impact of the RCDA program. The major effect of the program is an increase in the rate of research participation. Although the RCDA program supports persons who will become outstanding researchers, it is not because it "creates" them, but because the IRGs are able to target them. In recent years, however, the program has not consistently awarded grants to researchers in the intended career stage — that is, to those with limited career experience.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

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