Vanderbilt Improves Ranking for NIH Funding in Diagnostic Radiology

Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s (VUMC) Department of Radiology has improved its ranking among diagnostic radiology (DR) departments for National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding in fiscal year (FY) 2019.

According to data released last week by the Academy for Radiology & Biomedical Imaging Research, Vanderbilt Radiology Principal Investigators (PIs) were awarded more than $16.5 million in federal funding by the NIH this year. Of the 62 institutions listed, which included medical schools and major hospitals, Vanderbilt ranked No. 12. However, when compared to other Schools of Medicine, Vanderbilt ranked No. 8 for total NIH awards. A separate but widely-referenced report generated by The Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research (BRIMR) ranked Vanderbilt Radiology No. 9 for NIH funding to academic medical centers in 2019. This is an improvement from the department’s 11th place ranking last year.

Data used to generate rankings for both the Academy and BRIMR are determined by the amount of NIH funds awarded to PIs with primary appointments in DR departments. In its press release, the Academy announced that overall NIH funding to diagnostic radiology increased over 15 percent in FY19 compared to the previous year.

“It’s truly a huge achievement when you look at our peer institutions and the level of NIH funding among radiology research groups last year,” said Seth Smith, PhD, Professor of Radiology and Associate Director of the Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science (VUIIS). “This particular recognition is a testament to the time and effort that so many faculty, staff, students, fellows put in to generate innovative and transformative science. We are excited to see these efforts rewarded, and also recognize the sustained success the radiology research community has had for more than a decade.”

In its analysis, BRIMR also shared a breakdown of total awards by Radiology PIs at academic medical centers. Of the 700 radiology PIs included, Vanderbilt was the only institution with two PIs in the top 20; Dr. Charles Caskey ranked No. 7, and Dr. John Gore ranked No. 18. Together, they generated nearly $7 million – over 43 percent – of the NIH dollars awarded to Vanderbilt Radiology in 2019.

“The accomplishment of Dr. Caskey is remarkable, but well deserved, as he has established himself and his immediate colleagues as one of the major innovative research groups in the world of ultrasound,” said Dr. Gore, Professor of Radiology and Director of VUIIS. “I am pleased we continue to be top-ranked as we have been for the past 16 years.”

VUIIS is a cross-collaborative initiative with Vanderbilt University that is dedicated to research and training of postdoctoral fellows, graduate and medical students, and undergraduates in the field of medical imaging. It is comprised of imaging researchers from Vanderbilt departments including medicine, engineering, and arts and sciences. Of the 43 core VUIIS faculty, 34 have primary appointments in the Department of Radiology.