NIH – Analytical Tools and Approaches for (Multidimensional) Scholarly Research Assessment and Decision Support in the Biomedical Enterprise (R41/R42 and R43/R44 – Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

January 8, 2019 by


Contemporary science evaluates and is also subject to evaluation. Assessment of research is increasingly becoming an integral part of any scientific activity. Among the reasons for such attention is the increasing demand by the public and governments to demonstrate cost-benefit measures of the research programs within institutions, especially those that are publicly funded. Policy makers explicitly expect science to demonstrate its value to society. Another reason is the current economic climate where budgets are strained, and funding is scarce, making the ongoing, diverse and thorough assessment of immense importance for the prioritization and advancement of scientific and research programs. The current availability of data and the ability to collect and analyze large scale datasets also contribute to the increased interest in research assessment. While a decade ago, scientific evaluation relied mainly on citations and publications counts, today this data is not only available digitally but can also be merged with other data types, providing more rich analysis. For example, publications and citations counts can be triangulated with indicators of collaborations, text analysis and econometric measures producing multi-level view of an institution, program or an individual. Research funders begin to expect not only publications but also other indicators to be given as the proposed outputs and outcomes of the funded research in applications, signaling that other forms of scholarly products and novel metrics may play an important part in research evaluation. Appropriately, in the 2016-2020 Strategic plan, NIH announced the intent to take greater leadership in developing and validating the methodologies that are needed to evaluate scientific investments and to use transparent, scientific approaches in decision making.

Research Objectives

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement is to solicit the research and development of advanced and sophisticated analytical models, tools and metrics to enhance decision making in life sciences management and administration. It is suggested that those metrics should be developed to be embraced broadly by the life science community, be readily understandable by nonscientists and grounded in outcomes that are highly valued by the general public, science funders and policy makers. The metrics also should be validated by empirical data to accurately measure the underlying concept.

It is envisioned that those metrics will be used by the NGOs/disease foundations, advocacy groups, research funders, policy makers and by the academic institutional bodies (e.g. promotion committees).

Examples of the projects that satisfy the requirements of this FOA may include, but are not limited to:

    • Tools to define and validate the metrics specifically measuring how the impact of research (quality, transparency, reproducibility, integrity and potential for translation/application).
    • Studies to compare/investigate the relationship between traditional metrics, like text citations and expert evaluations, and webometrics/altmetrics, like social media usage analysis.
    • Tools and approaches to quantify relationships between publications and registered products (drugs, devices, diagnostics, etc.), to help increase public appreciation of the societal value of life science discoveries, to provide instructive insights for policy makers, to guide funding decision making and path selection that would accelerate progress towards cures.
    • Application of advanced empirical methods to altmetrics: large-scale studies assessing the reliability, validity and context of the metrics.
    • Analytical approaches answering the question of how can research -productive scientists be identified, clustered, and configured for optimal research synergies.
    • Sophisticated technologies to accurately analyze the demographics of research users, e.g. scholars or nonscholars, career stage, what was the actual research product they used and why, etc.
    • Sophisticated approaches and tools that, based on bibliometrics or otherwise, would enable the meaningful nomination of research studies for replication.
    • Sophisticated approaches and tools for the standardized evaluation of evidence in large numbers of biomedical research documents (project progress reports, research manuscripts, etc.).
    • For student education, building the models of good and improper scientific behavior with demonstration of the possible consequences of both.
    • Products that track a variety of scholarly activities such as teaching and service activities correlating them with the lecture attendance and popularity status of the reading lists.
    • Approaches to directly compare or intelligently combine the metrics (biblio- or alt-) and peer review.
    • Studies to investigate the new forms of impact measurements that are broader, speedier and more diversified than traditional metrics.
    • Tools to establish links between publications and clinical practice documents, such as practice guidelines, policy documents, textbooks, and clinical support tools, to identify publications influencing or changing clinical practice.
    • Metrics and tools to measure the economic impacts of scientific research, such as patent citations, economic investment, business creation and income, increased efficiency in the delivery of health care, etc.
    • Metrics and tools to measure public perception of biomedical research as well as research-driven changes in attitudes and/or behaviors related to their health as expressed on social media or other platforms.

Application Due Date:

March 4, 2019, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. Letter of Intent Due 30 days prior.

Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow adequate time to make any corrections to errors found in the application during the submission process by the due date.



RFA-DA-19-030R41/R42 STTR Grant – Phase I and Fast-Track

R43/R44 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant – Phase I and Fast-Track

Filed Under: Funding Opportunities