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September 14, 2006

Pitt remains No. 7 in NIH funding

According to figures released this week by Pitt’s Office of Research, Health Sciences (OORHS), for fiscal year 2005, Pitt ranked No. 7 nationally in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding among educational institutions and their affiliates. The University also ranked 7th in fiscal year 2004, using the same comparison.

Affiliates consist of a group of associated institutions in the geographical area where university faculty have appointments and direct NIH grants that have been secured through those institutions. In Pitt’s case, affiliates are Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Magee-Womens Health Corp., Mellon Pitt Corp., Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Institute and UPMC McKeesport, according to OORHS.

In FY05, Pitt and its affiliates garnered 1,065 individual awards totaling $431.4 million from NIH, Kathleen Sidorovich of OORHS said.

NIH awards include research grants, training grants, fellowships, R&D contracts and miscellaneous awards.

Although the NIH web site ( ranks Pitt 9th overall nationally, that list does not include grants administered by Pitt faculty at the affiliates, Sidorovich said.

“A couple of years ago it was decided that including the affiliates was appropriate because these are Pitt medical school faculty,” Sidorovich said. “If you add the funding from the affiliates, we are ranked 7th nationally, the same as last year.”

NIH spokesperson Don Luckett said he was aware that some institutions combine funding data with affiliates in their own reporting, but that NIH did not track that.

Katrina Pearson, who compiles ranking data at NIH, said that NIH lists institutions separately, according to each institution’s unique coding number.

“If you go to the link ‘awards by state and foreign site’ (, each state’s institutions and the grants and funding amounts are listed there,” Pearson said.

“If Pitt is reporting a combination, that is done at the institutional level.”

The ranking methodology posted on the NIH web site ( states in part: “Annually, NIH computes data on funding provided by NIH grants, cooperative agreements and contracts to universities, hospitals and other institutions. The data do not reflect institutional reorganizations [or] relocation of research. … The ranking tables simply reflect the number and amount of awards made to each institution.”

Of Pitt’s NIH total, 84 percent was funding for the Schools of the Health Sciences, according to OORHS.

Following is a breakdown of Pitt NIH awards by Health Sciences school with rankings among comparable schools nationally, OORHS said.

• Dental medicine ranked 30th with $2.5 million in NIH grants. It ranked 28th last year.

• Health and rehabilitation sciences was 12th (10th last year) with $1.3 million in grants.

• Medicine and affiliates ranked 8th among medical schools and their affiliates (the same as last year) with $333.3 million in grants.

• Nursing was 5th among similar schools with $7 million in grants. The school ranked 7th last year.

• Pharmacy ranked 11th (also 11th last year) with $6.9 million.

• Public health was ranked 3rd among similar schools, the same as last year’s ranking, with NIH grants totaling $56.9 million.

—Peter Hart

Filed under: Feature,Volume 39 Issue 2

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