An Outcome Evaluation of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s Pioneer Award (NDPA) Program, FY 2004–2006

August, 2012
IDA document: P-4899
FFRDC: Science and Technology Policy Institute
Type: Documents
Bhavya Lal, Alyson G. Wilson, Seth Jonas, Elizabeth C. Lee, Amy M. Richards, Vanessa I. Pena See more authors
This evaluation addressed two primary study questions: To what extent does the research supported by the NDPA program produce unusually high impact, and to what extent are the research approaches used by the NDPA awards highly innovative? Using complementary methods (bibliometric analysis and expert review), the study team compared outcomes for five groups: a matched set of National Institutes of Health Research Project Grant Program (R01) grants, principal investigators on the same R01 grants, random R01 portfolios that received comparable amounts of funding to the NDPA portfolio, a group of Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigators, and a group of NDPA finalists. The STPI study team found that the Pioneers performed as well as or better than the matched R01 principal investigators and NDPA finalists; the Pioneer portfolio performed as well as or better than the random R01 portfolios on bibliometric measures of impact; and the HHMI investigators scored as well as or better than the Pioneers on all metrics of interest.