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Funds for Tenure

There's an increased emphasis on receiving research grant money in promotion decisions, a focus that affects women's chances, argues an anonymous academic at the Guardian.

While the author acknowledges that getting grant money is difficult as about 30 percent of people who apply to major research councils are successful, the writer adds that studies indicate that it is even more difficult for women to receive research funding or even postdoctoral positions.

A 1997 study of the then Swedish Medical Research Council found, the author notes, that female applicants had to be two-and-a half times more productive than male applicants to get the same competence score. Additionally, a 2001 study of postdoctoral fellowship data found that female applicants were 20 percent less successful than their male colleagues and that successful female applicants had published an average 7.1 papers to the 5.8 average papers published by successful male applicants.

"This leaves us with a problem that is somewhat intractable under the current regime of rewarding grant capture," the author adds, suggesting two options: anonymous research grant applications or a quota system — something the author suspects no one wants.