Summarized in this article are National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding patterns for Schools of Nursing in the United States during the 5-year period from 2014 to 2018. These findings were published in the Journal of Professional Nursing.1

With the nursing profession in the United States currently characterized by a high retirement rate, there is a need to train and support a new generation of nurse researchers to investigate approaches to improve healthcare delivery and patient outcomes.

However, according to the study author, a competitive environment for research funding, as well as limitations related to currently existing research-focused doctoral programs in nursing, are potential barriers to achieving this goal.

In this study, data related to NIH funding awards to US-based schools of nursing from 2014 to 2018 were extracted from the publicly accessible NIH RePORTER database.2 Other sources of funding were not investigated. Types of research funding were classified as research (U, R), training (F, T), center grant (P), or career development (K).

Between 2014 and 2018, the total number of NIH grants to US schools of nursing increased by 11%, and overall NIH funding to US schools of nursing increased by 28.5%. There was also an 11% increase (ie, 63 to 70) in the number of schools of nursing receiving NIH funding over this period of time.

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Approximately 50% of overall NIH funding was from the National Institute for Nursing Research (NINR) during the overall study period.

Most of the funding was in the form of R-series grants, and between 30.8% and 39.4% of R- and U-series grants were funded by NINR during the period between 2014 and 2018.

The number of F-series grants decreased by 24.1% between 2014 and 2018, with approximately three-quarters of these grants awarded by NINR in 2018. Although the total number of T-series grants remained relatively steady over the study period, 96.2% of these grants were funded by NINR in 2016, whereas this percentage dropped to 80% in 2018.

“Funded training programs through non-NINR institutes/centers may provide training for predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees who are then better prepared to compete for cross-Institute NIH funding … this may allow our predoctoral and postdoctoral students to be more competitive for seeking funding from institutes and centers other than NINR once they graduate,” the study author commented.