Impact of research investment on scientific productivity of junior researchers
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There is a demand for providing evidence on the effectiveness of research investments on the promotion of novice researchers’ scientific productivity and production of research with new initiatives and innovations. We used a mixed method approach to evaluate the funding effect of the New Investigator Fund (NIF) by comparing scientific productivity between award recipients and non-recipients. We reviewed NIF grant applications submitted from 2004 to 2013. Scientific productivity was assessed by confirming the publication of the NIF-submitted application. Online databases were searched, independently and in duplicate, to locate the publications. Applicants’ perceptions and experiences were collected through a short survey and categorized into specified themes. Multivariable logistic regression was performed. Odds ratios (OR) with 95 % confidence intervals (CI) are reported. Of 296 applicants, 163 (55 %) were awarded. Gender, affiliation, and field of expertise did not affect funding decisions. More physicians with graduate education (32.0 %) and applicants with a doctorate degree (21.5 %) were awarded than applicants without postgraduate education (9.8 %). Basic science research (28.8 %), randomized controlled trials (24.5 %), and feasibility/pilot trials (13.3 %) were awarded more than observational designs (p < 0.001). Adjusting for applicants and application factors, awardees published the NIF application threefold more than non-awardees (OR = 3.4, 95 %, CI = 1.9, 5.9). The survey response rate was 90.5 %, and only 58 % commented on their perceptions, successes, and challenges of the submission process. These findings suggest that research investments as small as seed funding are effective for scientific productivity and professional growth of novice investigators and production of research with new initiatives and innovations. Further efforts are recommended to enhance the support of small grant funding programs.
KeywordsResearch investment Small grant funding Seed funding Scientific productivity Junior faculty Novice researcher
With an application of this scale and complexity, many research junior personnel students have invaluable contribution to this application. We would like to specifically acknowledge the support of Virginia Viscardi, Chelsea Battell, and Alston Smith for emailing surveys, locating and contacting applicants, collecting and entering data, and performing literature searches. Members of NIF Steering Group involved in the NIF Evaluation Process include Forough Farrokhyar, Daniela Bianco, Michelle Ghert, Jonathan Sussman, and Jeffrey Ginsberg.
NIF scientific board members
We would like to thank the current and past members for their valuable and generous contribution to the review and decision process of the applications.
Daniela Bianco (Manager, Research Administration); Mark Duffett (Pharmacy and Pediatric Critical Care); Forough Farrokhyar (Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics); Michelle Ghert (Orthopaedic Oncology and Cell Biology); Jeff Ginsberg (NIF Chair, Thromboembolism); Eleni Hapidou (Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences); Karen Harkness (Nurse Clinician/Heart Function Clinic); Kim Nagel (Pediatric Hematology); Guillaume Pare (Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics); Sandy Raha (Biomedical Sciences and Pediatrics); Fred Spencer (Cardiology and Hematology and Thromboembolism); Tej Sheth (Cardiology); Karen Strike (Physiotherapy/Rehabilitation); Jonathan Sussman (Radiation Oncology, Family Medicine); Wendy Sword (Prenatal and Postpartum Care, Perinatal Health Services); Richard Tozer (Medical Oncology).
Past tenure members
Sonia Anand (Cardiovascular and Thromboembolism); Ronald Barr (Pediatrics, Hematology and Oncology); Susan Blatz (Neonatal ICU); Jean Crowe (Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation); Sharon Dore (Women’s Health); Alison Fox-Robichaud (Microbiology and Critical Care); Shariq Haider (Infectious Disease and Tropical Medicine); Susan Jack (Women’s Health); Clive Kearon (Thromboembolism); Ellen Lipman (Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences); Maureen Markell-Reid (Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics): Alison Niccols (Psychology); Margaret Nowaczyk (Genetics); Alexandra Papaioannou (Geriatrics); Murray Potter (Laboratory Medicine and Biochemical Genetics); Peter Rosenbaum (Pediatrics Oncology); Sam Schulman (Thromboembolism); Marko Simunovic (Oncology and General Surgery); Amanda Symington (Neonatal ICU); Parveen Wasi (Hematology).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest and adherence to ethical principles
Authors acknowledge that they have adhered to the ethical principles and have no commercial associations or any other arrangements that might be a conflict of interest in connection with the submitted manuscript.
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