Panel Paper: Analyzing the Distribution of NIH Funds, and NIH Funded Research Network Focusing on Behavioral Social Science (BSS) Workforce

Saturday, November 10, 2018
8224 - Lobby Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Hyungjo Hur1, Ran Xu2 and Joshua Hawley1, (1)The Ohio State University, (2)Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSS) are considered to be amongst the science fields, although when science policy makers refer to the problems with the STEM workforce and STEM education, their attention often focuses on the “hard” sciences, such as engineering, physics, chemistry and biology. There is an increasing interest in identifying strategies to strengthen Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSS) researcher workforce which includes the fields of economics, political science, psychology, sociology & anthropology, and other social sciences. NIH has a history of recognizing the importance of BSS research and its ability to contribute to their “…understanding of the basic underlying mechanisms and treatment of mental and physical health and illness”.

This research will focus on improving the understanding of the current funding distribution and NIH funding effects on connectedness, with a specific emphasis on BSS workforce. There are arguments that some of the effects might not be positive or might even have unforeseen consequences for connectedness, research productivity and workforce development. Therefore, there is a critical need to more analysis on this topic. The study is divided into two research questions: 1) Are there any systematic structure in grant co-application network?; and 2) Do social capital/connection matter in grant success?

Using 2000-2017 NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT), we analyze the current funding distribution status, and analyze the effects of NIH funding on researchers’ connectedness and productivity focusing on BSS. With the social network analysis and regression analysis, we find that 1) most of grants were funded to sole PI, but average team size is increasing over years, 2) there are many disconnected “teams”, and there is no hierarchical or core-periphery pattern, meaning there is no “core-group” dominating the funding system, 3) PI’s previous component size significantly predict PI’s future grants, with larger component size PI can get more grants or more likely to get grants in the future. We also provide the co-author network using publication and co-authorship information in RePORT. These results provide insights to inform policies intended to strengthen the BSS scientist connectedness and workforce development.