March 11, 2024

School of Medicine in top 10 in NIH funding: survey

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, which received $527.7 million in direct and indirect NIH grant support in FY23, has been among the top 10 U.S. medical schools in NIH funding for six of the last 10 years.

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine ranked 10th in the nation in total research grant support provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in fiscal year 2023, according to figures compiled by the nonprofit Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research.

VUSM, which received $527.7 million in direct and indirect NIH grant support in FY23, has been among the top 10 U.S. medical schools in NIH funding for six of the last 10 years. The school’s clinical, research and teaching missions are provided largely through its affiliated, non-profit Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“The significant NIH funding received by Vanderbilt University Medical Center is a testament to our investigators’ cutting-edge research and innovation,” said Jennifer Pietenpol, PhD, VUMC’s Chief Scientific and Strategy Officer, and Executive Vice President for Research.

“It underscores our long-standing commitment to advancing medical science and improving patient care,” Pietenpol continued. “With this federal funding, our cross-disciplinary teams are strategically focused on solving some of the most challenging health problems facing our society today.”

Eight clinical departments and two basic science departments at VUSM ranked in the top 10 among medical school departments nationwide in FY23, the Blue Ridge Institute reported.

The clinical departments are:

  • Medicine, first in the nation, with $226.8 million in NIH grants.
  • Emergency Medicine, second place, with $14.1 million.
  • Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, second place, with $13.4 million.
  • Anesthesiology, fifth place, with $11.7 million.
  • Pediatrics, sixth place, with $46 million.
  • Urology, eighth place, with $3.0 million.
  • Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, ninth place, with $24.5 million.
  • Ophthalmology, 10th place, with $10.8 million.

The basic science departments are:

  • Cell and Developmental Biology, third place, with $20.7 million.
  • Pharmacology, ninth place, with $16.4 million.

 With an annual budget exceeding $45 billion, the NIH is the world’s largest public funder of biomedical research. The Blue Ridge rankings are derived from NIH year-end composite data for the federal fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2023, available via the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tool (RePORT).

VUMC’s Department of Medicine is known internationally for its groundbreaking research in cardiovascular and genetic medicine, clinical pharmacology, diabetes, allergy and infectious diseases, gastroenterology, nephrology, and other areas.

“There is an amazing breadth of research occurring within the Department of Medicine, spanning from the important clinical studies to meticulous science,” said the department’s interim chair, Jane Freedman, MD, the Gladys Parkinson Stahlman Professor of Cardiovascular Research.

“While there is no one benchmark that can highlight all of the broad departmental research accomplishments, achieving the number one ranking from the Blue Ridge Institute is a laudable achievement,” she said.

“While the importance and impact of our team’s research is the primary focus, achieving the number two ranking from the Blue Ridge Institute is an incredible accomplishment,” added Erik Hess, MD MSc, professor and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine.

“Our investigators are discovering how to effectively respond to contemporary health care crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the emergency diagnosis and management of acute heart failure and delirium in an aging U.S. population and reliably and safely providing access to new scientific breakthroughs to practice,” Hess said.

Eben Rosenthal, MD, the Barry and Amy Baker Chair in Laryngeal, Head and Neck Research, and chair of the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, noted that the department’s research program stands out because of its depth.

“We have NIH-funded surgeon-scientists in almost every subspecialty, with very diverse programs in sleep apnea, airway immunology, molecular imaging and cochlear implantation,” Rosenthal said.

“Our success would never be possible without the unique collaborative atmosphere of VUMC, unparalleled core facilities, and our research partnership with the Department of Speech and Hearing Services,” he added.

Similarly, Freedman noted, while the Blue Ridge Institute did not rank departments of biostatistics or informatics, the contributions of VUMC’s Departments of Biomedical Informatics and Biostatistics were crucial to the Department of Medicine achieving its top ranking.