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2018 NIMH Portfolio Analyis: Methods

The portfolio analyses presented in the Director’s Message NIMH’s Portfolio Balance: Quality Science Comes First include NIMH funding data over time by fiscal year (FY; FY 2007 – FY 2016). The entire dataset included NIMH-administered research project grants (RPGs)1 and non-RPGs2 (including projects in the Division of Intramural Research Programs (IRP), research and development (R&D) contracts, training grants, interagency agreements, etc.). The data did not include funds associated with: NIMH co-funded awards (i.e., awards not administered by NIMH); the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA; FY 2009 and FY 2010); the NIH Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative; the NIH Common Fund; the NIMH Clinical Center management fund; and/or, grants missing “Basic” or “Applied” coding (see below for definitions of Basic and Applied; 20 grants in FY 2007 ($4,156,933); two IRP projects in FY 2012 ($125,628)).

Figure 1 includes the entire dataset, showing the percent of NIMH research funding over time (FY 2007 – FY 2016) presented for the Office of the Director (OD) and related funding offices, and for each NIMH funding division. Funding in the OD includes the Office of Research on Disparities and Global Mental Health (ORDGMH; formed in 2010); the Office of Technology Development and Coordination (OTDC; formed in 2011); the Office of Genomics Research Coordination (OGRC; formed in 2015); and other funding from the immediate Office of the Director. Funding divisions include the Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science (DNBBS), the Division of Translational Research (DTR), the Division of Services and Intervention Research (DSIR), the Division of AIDS Research (DAR), and the IRP. Funding from historical divisions (presented as dotted lines) are included in the current divisions that acquired each research portfolio. DTR (formed in FY 2014) includes funding from the former Division of Pediatric Translational Research and Treatment Development (DPTR; FY 2007); non-HIV/AIDS related projects from the former Division of AIDS and Health Behavior Research (DAHBR; FY 2007 – FY 2009); research funded by the Division of Developmental Translational Research (DDTR; FY 2007 – FY 2013); and, the Division of Adult Translational Research (DATR; FY 2007 – FY 2013). DAR (formed in FY 2010) includes funding from the HIV/AIDS portfolio from DAHBR (FY 2007 – FY 2009) and funding from the Center for Mental Health Research on AIDS (CMHRA; FY 2009).

Figure 2 includes the entire dataset, showing the percent of NIMH funding over time (FY 2007 – FY 2016), presented by research area. Three categories of research are shown: Therapeutics Development and Services research3 (short-term investments), Disease-related Basic research (medium-term investments), and Fundamental Basic research (long-term investments)4.

Figures 3 a-c show the number of RPG1 applications and awards, and percent success rates, for each of three funding divisions including DNBBS (Figure 3a; basic research, mainly long-term investments); DTR (Figure 3b; translational research, mainly medium-term investments); and, DSIR (Figure 3c; services and implementation research, mainly short-term investments).

Figures 4 a-c show investments (dollars in millions) for NIMH-funded RPGs1 over time (FY 2007 – FY 2016), presented by research area (“Basic”4 represents a combination of Disease-related and Fundamental Basic, and “Applied”3 represents Therapeutics Development and Services research (see Figure 2)). Figure 4a shows all NIMH-funded RPGs (including competing and non-competing); Figure 4b shows non-competing NIMH-funded RPGs; and, Figure 4c shows competing NIMH-funded RPGs.

Data not shown: To ensure the changes described were due to a shift in scientific area, rather than a shift in research mechanism (i.e., non-RPGs), an analysis was performed on non-RPG mechanisms (non-competing and competing) by research category over time (FY 2007 – FY 2016). The data show relatively little variation over time, suggesting there was not a change in the use of research mechanisms during that period.


1 RPGs include the following mechanisms: DP1, DP2, DP5, P01, R00, R01, R03, R15, R21, R33, R34, R36, R37, R56, R61, RC1, RC2, RC3, RC4, U01, U19, UH2, UH3, UM1.

2 For a full list of non-RPG mechanisms, including non-RPGs, see:

3 Therapeutics Development and Services research refers to Applied research, defined as the practical application of basic science knowledge for the purpose of meeting a recognized need. This includes the study of the detection, prevention, epidemiology, cause, treatment, or rehabilitation of specific disorders or conditions; it also encompasses studies of the structure, processes, and effects of health services, the utilization of health resources, and the analysis and evaluation of the delivery of health services, health care costs, and organizations.

4 Broadly, Basic research is defined as science aimed at gaining fuller knowledge or understanding of the subject under study, and the biological and behavioral processes which affect disease and human well-being, including such areas as the cellular and molecular bases of diseases, genetics, immunology, neuropsychology, neurobiology, etc. For a more nuanced approach as presented in Figure 2, Disease-related Basic research is defined as basic research specifically relevant to mental illnesses, and Fundamental Basic research is defined as basic research focused on basic biological processes or typical development.