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Elaine A. Liu, Sophia Y. Wang, Rajesh C. Rao; Sustaining Independent Careers in Vision Research: Demographics and Success in Second R01 Attainment Among Clinician–Scientists from 1985 to 2019. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2020;9(12):32. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.9.12.32.
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To evaluate the success of ophthalmology and optometry clinician–scientists in obtaining a second R01 (renewal or new) and factors associated with this success, including gender, clinical specialty, degree, institution, and bench versus non-bench research.
First-time National Eye Institute (NEI) R01 awardee data from 1985 to 2014 (N = 234) were analyzed to calculate second R01 success rates. Only R01 awards to ophthalmology or optometry clinician–scientists were included. Demographic data were obtained from clinicians with first-time NEI R01 funding spanning from 1962 to 2019 (N = 386). We obtained information regarding time span of the first R01, year of second R01, institution, and project title on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool, Expenditures and Results (RePORTER) database, and additional measures of gender, clinical specialty, and degree by performing Internet searches.
Overall, from 1985 to 2014, 62.8% of ophthalmology or optometry clinician–scientists were awarded a second R01; at 5 years after receipt of the first R01 (the typical length of an R01), only 3.9% received their second R01. None of the factors examined (temporal cohort, gender, clinical specialty, degree, institution, or bench vs. non-bench research) was significantly associated with successful attainment of a second R01.
We found an overall success rate of 62.8% for receiving a second R01, but 5 years after the first R01 an attainment rate for a second R01 of only ∼4%.
Our study provides insight on significant leaks in the clinician–scientist pipeline and raises questions of how stakeholders should support this important group of individuals at the intersection of clinical medicine and biomedical research.
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