Investigator qualifications is one of the review criteria for NIH research grant applications. The peer reviewers are given the following questions to help guide their evaluation - "Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? If Early Stage Investigators or New Investigators, or in the early stages of independent careers, do they have appropriate experience and training? If established, have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field(s)? If the project is collaborative or multi-PD/PI, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project? " One way peer reviewers evaluate experience and record of accomplishment is by reviewing the information presented in the biosketches. Training, experience, and relevant publications are listed in the biosketches. Publications provide an indication that the research team can successfully disseminate the results of their research in a scholarly manner and recognition by peers in the field of the importance of the previous related research. There is no recommended scale for evaluating the number or impact of publications. The peer reviewers use their professional judgment in this area. In general, researchers in the early stages of their career would have fewer publications. One common way to compensate for a new investigator's lack of experience in an important area of a project is to involve experienced collaborators and consultants in a meaningful way on the research team. Be sure to carefully describe the roles of these collaborators and consultants, include their biosketches if they are key personnel, and include letters of commitment specific to your project if they are outside your organization.
There has been no analysis of the average number of publications for a successful New Investigator or experienced investigator for NLM. Also, there are no differential criteria applied to clinical or basic researchers. The number of publications is not the relevant factor. The applicant must convince the reviewers that the proposed PI and other key personal have the ability to successfully complete the project. Factors that are considered include the training, professional experience, and demonstrated performance in the areas relevant to the project.