Compared to university- and hospital-affiliated labs, independent research labs apply for few NIH grants. And the research money they eventually receive amounts to less than 10% of what NIH gives out. However, if you were to look at their success rate in getting grants, the independents outdo their counterparts at universities and hospitals.

That conclusion can be drawn from a comparison NIH recently made of various classes of applicants' success rates (the percentage of research applications that are actually approved for funding).

Between 1978 and 1987, the independent labs NIH studied - all members of the Association of Independent Research Institutes (AIRI) - consistently showed a higher-than-average success rate of research grants. For some years, the advantage was slight, such as 1.3% in 1981. But in 1987, the gap widened dramatically: 44.7% of AIRI applicants won grants. In contrast, the overall average was 35.4%.


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