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Aug 14

Gender Inequality in Research Budgets

A study published in The Lancet has found that male researchers received on average about £44,735 more funding from the Wellcome Trust than women, which the authors suggest is explained by women being less ambitious in how much money they apply for.  Using  data for over 10,000 grants awarded by Wellcome from 2000 to 2008, the researchers assessed the gender of the individual awardees based on their names.  After correcting for academic career levels, they found that both overall, and on a yearly basis, men received more funding than women.

Since previous research suggests success rates for grant applications to the Wellcome Trust are similar for men and women, and that UK funders rarely award less than the sum applied for, the team conclude that women are “less ambitious in the amounts of funding requested in their grant applications”.  They suggest tackling this by providing mentors to encourage women to ask for more funding.  They also suggest men could ask for less, though maybe that isn’t really the point here.  Perhaps further analysis could focus on how well applicants of both genders plan their project budgets in developing bids, and then manage them once awarded.

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