The number of K-series grants increased by 43.2% from 2014 to 2018, with approximately 50% to 60% of these grants awarded by NINR each year.

Notably, of the 15 schools of nursing that have been classified as being in the top 10 regarding NIH funding, approximately one-third of the funding was awarded to a nonnurse researcher.

Despite conceding that inclusion of nonnurse faculty can facilitate an interdisciplinary approach to nursing science, the study author cautioned against “a bifurcated faculty structure in which all PhD-prepared nurses are responsible for teaching and all nonnurse PhD faculty bring in research funding” as it “creates a structure where PhD-prepared nurses cannot become successful academic leaders because their work does not comprise teaching, research, service and scholarship.”

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Beyond NINR, other appreciable sources of NIH funding to schools of nursing have included the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), but not the National Eye Institute (NEI), the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), the National Library of Medicine (NLM), and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB).

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In commenting on this finding, the study author stated that “while NINR may remain the predominant funder for schools of nursing in the [United States,] nurse scientists must expand their capacity to secure funding from Institutes other than NINR.”

In her concluding remarks, the study author also cautioned against streamlining PhD programs in nursing to the extent that nursing scientists will not be competitive with PhD recipients in other scientific fields.

“This has the potential to result in nurse scientists who are ill-prepared to lead scientific advances and compete with their nonnurse peers for NIH funding,” she stated.


1. Schnall R. National Institute of Health (NIH) funding patterns in schools of nursing: Who is funding nursing science research and who is conducting research at schools of nursing? J Prof Nurs. 2020;36(1):34-41.

2. National Institutes of Health. Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORTER). Accessed February 25, 2019.