More data to explain.....attitudes. (UPDATED)

Mar 25 2015 Published by under NIH, NIH Budgets and Economics, NIH Careerism



Rockey had posted on the amount of grant money going to age groups, this Tweep divided by the number of PIs in each group. 

I had two immediate thoughts.

When the end of the doubling hit, if you were 50 or under you felt it immediately. 

If you were 56 or older at that point, you didn't feel anything until 2012.

Funny how nicely this maps onto attitudes. We've seen the older types get vocal only in the last 2-3 years and we have been bemused.

My response has been "welcome to the reality the rest of us have been under for a decade." 

Nice to see some actual data confirming that the Boomers really have been insulated from pain until recently. 

UPDATED: More from @MHendr1cks
NIHGrantIncreaseByAgeThe piechart really brings it home, doesn't it?

23 responses so far

  • Philapodia says:

    This just means that we have to keep hanging on, gathering boomer scraps, and as we get older things will magically keep getting better, right?


  • Odyssey says:

    The oldsters may have felt it in 2012, but from their larger recent uptick it looks like the pain was temporary.

  • UCProf says:

    This just means that we have to keep hanging on, gathering boomer scraps, and as we get older things will magically keep getting better, right?

    Right, then when you are in your 60's they will decide to return to mandatory retirement.

  • Morgan Price says:

    Is there any data on how grant success rates vs. PI age have changed over time? The above implies some divergence, no?

  • KILL TEH OLDZ!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Eli Rabett says:

    No need, w/o looking given the stupid way that soft money positions funded (and pretty much all med school positions are soft money) the attrition probably killed most of the oldz, or at least their careers before they got old.

    The survivors were the best, or at least the ones who could sling grants with the best.

  • SidVic says:

    The 65+ crowd must be holding big grants. Usually they show up as smaller slice of pie when grant #s are used.
    don't trust anyone over 55....

  • mh says:

    "KILL TEH OLDZ!!!!!!!!!!!!"

    Or, you know, ameliorate their arbitrary advantages just a little bit in the interest of a sustainable workforce and research system. But you're right that screaming bloody murder is the hysterical response to any suggestion in that direction.

    So, let's permanently cement those advantages through policy with MIRA and Emeritus awards, excluding junior PIs from CSR, etc. That'll work too.

  • Newbie says:

    I've been trolling these charts and the RePORTER data for any institutes or topics where ESI policies appear to be more than lip service, thus warranting where I send grants (self-interest). I can't find any indication that they are working.

    Anybody have this in box-n-whisker? I'd like to see how many of those 50-55 labs closed or just lost $.

  • drugmonkey says:

    How do you know the ESI policies aren't working? What would the evidence be that they were having an effect, in your view?

  • Newbie says:

    If the argument for the ESI is recognizing potential over achievement that might be the most consistent with stated mission?

    I'll go with the age of first R01 as indicator, since that is a proxy discussed often, and consistent with the original topic of this post.

    Success rate by ESI status might unduly weight long postdocs in big labs.

  • drugmonkey says:

    What is the success target?

    The ESI policy certainly stopped further increases.

  • drugmonkey says:

    ESI also equalized success rates.

  • Ageing PI says:

    The graph might be easier to interpret if only RPG equivalents were included. A lot of the costs in the lower age groups are PhD/post-doc fellowships I assume. Plus is there any data on success rates and funding for ESI versus the rest of us? Its unclear if the ESI policy has stabilized funding to this group, or simply had no impact at all.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Cmon people. At least follow a link or two if you are going to propose some new set of trees will help you see the forest.

    This was RPGs.

  • drugmonkey says:

    And yes, data on ESI success rates abounds. I've posted on it, Rockey posted on it, and you can find it in those handy RePORT spreadsheets.

  • drugmonkey says:

    You people have all read through the freely available 2005 Bridges to Independence report, correct?

  • […] report. Yes? It's freely downloadable and told us a lot about the state of NIH extramural funding, age cohorts and demographic disparities....a DECADE […]

  • Datahound says:

    This is a very interesting data set and thanks to MHendricks for transforming the data into a more useful and instructive form. I have been searching for something like this for some time (but did not have access to the relevant data) to try to understand why more senior scientists became really alarmed over the past few years over trends, at the macro level, have been going on for a decade.

  • drugmonkey says:

    try to understand why more senior scientists became really alarmed over the past few years over trends, at the macro level, have been going on for a decade.

    RIGHT??? RIGHT!??!!!!!11111!!?!!!??

    I mean, we knew this was all about selfish, personal perception of pain/lack thereof but it is nice to get some quantification on that trend.

  • […] A recent post on Rock Talk presented data on the amount of funding as a function of PI age group. These data were not presented in a terribly informative way but a file was available for downloading and Michael Hendricks normalized the data by the number of PIs in age group to reveal more interesting trends, discussed at Drugmonkey. […]

  • Ageing PI says:

    The data nicely explains a somewhat mysterious event from about 4 years back. I am at one of those places that require you to obtain 98% salary support. In summer 2011, concerned about declining funding, we managed to get a slot to talk with the executive research committee about the issue. Our group was, of course, 3 new investigators and 8 mid-level (41-52 years spread) investigators. After presenting our concerns about potential for loss of funding (with lots of data of course), declining success rates, increased number of grants submitted by our group and the need to consider at least some salary support for us, they simply blew us off! They made the usual claims - funding is cyclic, we oldies had it hard as well, there is no institutional money (not exactly true!), apply to foundations/industry and (weirdly) look for individual donors. i.e. not our problem. Of course, its now clear that the committee (amazingly comprising 8 white males >55, top age approx 73: I checked their CVs to be sure) simply wasn't having the same funding issues we were! Maybe we should go back to them with the new data!

  • […] the context of recent discussions of NIH age group data, @dgermain21 pointed to some interesting data in a recent NIH report on […]

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