What about diversity in the R37/MERIT deals, NIH?

January 17, 2014

The R37/MERIT award is an interesting beast in NIH-land. It is typically (exclusively?) awarded upon a successful competing continuation (now called renewal) R01 application. Program then decides in some cases to extend the interval of non-competition for another 5 years*. This, my friends, is person-not-project based funding.

The R37 is a really good gig….if you can get it.

So, given that I’m blogging about award disparity this week….I took a look at the R37s currently on the books for one of my favorite ICs.

There are 25 of them.

The PIs include

1 transgender PI.
4 female PIs
0 East Asian / East Asian-American PIs (that I could detect)
3 South Asian / South Asian-American PIs (that I could detect)
0 SubSaharan African / African-American PIs (that I could detect)
0 Latino PIs (that I could detect)

hmmm, not that strong of a job. How about another of my favorite ICs?

23 awards (Interesting because this IC is half the size of the above-mentioned one)

12 female PIs.
0 East Asian / East Asian-American PIs (that I could detect)
1-2 South Asian / South Asian-American PIs (that I could detect)
0 SubSaharan African / African-American PIs (that I could detect)
3-4 Latino PIs (that I could detect)

way better on the sex distribution. Whether this number of R37s reflects more than average good-old-folks clubbery or the above represents less than average I don’t know. 25 at another large IC close to my interests. 95ish (I didn’t parse for supplements) at another. Only 45ish at NCI. Clearly a big range relative to IC size.

Both of these are doing really poorly on East Asian/ Asian-American and African-American PIs. The first is pretty pathetic on Latino PIs as well.

On the other hand, good old white guys with grey hair or receding hairlines are doing quite well in the R37 stakes.

How are your favorite ICs doing, Dear Reader?

*The way I hear it. I have heard rumor that these can go beyond a total of 10 years of R37 but I’m not sure on that.

6 Responses to “What about diversity in the R37/MERIT deals, NIH?”

  1. sorry, how many total applicants were there per award call, plz? thx!! (lord know i have no time to read original report atm, sorry)


  2. odyssey Says:

    Try reading the post. There is no award call. And we’re all busy. What makes you so special you can expect others to do your reading for you?


  3. nothing, of course. everyone is Busy Reading Totally Important Things. or so i assume, i’m just reading the recent extracellular tumor microenvironment growing in 3D cell cultures lit, plus the solar energy stuff since technically speaking i’m a photo chemist and people are yelling at me about energy security etc. fun times.


  4. My fellow Asians,

    For God’s sake, don’t choose a career in science. It’s like trying to get into college every five years.


  5. Jonathan (@jkgoya) Says:

    This does raise the question, yet again – are Asians/Pacific Islanders discriminated against, underrepresented, overrepresented, etc.? Does having one class that includes recent immigrants from Sri Lanka alongside third-generation Japanese Americans even make sense? Being a rather complex pan-Pacific blend myself, I can’t even figure out what my category is or whether I should be on the lookout for racial/ethnic discrimination.


  6. Ola Says:

    White male here, eligible for merit (competing renewal scored 3rd percentile), but this occurred exactly 3 months after NHLBI abolished the program. Rats! So, at NHLBI I would guess that any remaining merits are not very diverse, having been awarded some time ago (pre Ginther report).


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