The National Institutes of Health (NIH) analyzed the reasons why over 700 research proposal applications were denied. Their findings as to the cause of rejection are worth reviewing:
- Nature of the Problem (18.1%)
- It is doubtful that
new or useful information
will result from the project (14%).
- The basic hypothesis is unsound (3.5%).
- The proposed research is scientifically premature due to the present inadequacy of supporting knowledge (0.6%).
- Approach to the Problem (38.9%)
- The research plan is
and not presented in concrete detail (8.6%).
- The planned research is not adequately controlled (3.7%).
- Greater care in
planning is needed (25.2%).
1. The research plan has not been carefully designed (11.8%).
2. The proposed methods will not yield accurate results (8.8%).
3. The procedures to be used should be spelled out
in more detail (4.6%).
- A more thorough statistical treatment is needed (0.7%).
- The proposed tests
require more individual subjects
than the number given (0.7%).
- Competence of the Investigators (38.2%)
- The applicants need
to acquire greater familiarity with the
pertinent literature (7.2%).
- The problems to be
investigated are more complex than the
applicants realize (10.5%).
- The applicants
propose to enter an area of research for which
they are not adequately trained (12.8%).
- The principal
investigator intends to give actual responsibility
for the direction of a complex project to an inexperienced
- The reviewers do not
have sufficient confidence in the applicants
to approve the present application, largely based on the past
efforts of the applicants (6.8%).
- Conditions of the Research Environment (4.8%)
- The investigators
will be required to devote too much time to
teaching or other non-research duties (0.9%).
- Better liaison is needed with colleagues in collateral disciplines (0.4%).
- Requested expansion on continuation of a currently supported research project would result in failure to achieve the main goal of the work (3.5%).