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New Female, Male PIs Receive Differing Grant Amounts

Female and male that first-time principal investigators receive differing amounts of US National Institutes of Health funding, according to a new analysis

A team of Northwestern University researchers sifted through publicly available grants data to identify first-time awardees, determine their sex, and ascertain the amount of their grant. Overall, the researchers report in the Journal of the American Medical Association that first-time female awardees received a median $126,615 in funding, while first-time male awardees received $165,721. The difference held, they note, when they examined grants given to PIs at Ivy League schools, Big 10 schools, and the top 50 institutions in in terms of receiving NIH grant money. Some schools, though, had smaller gaps than others.

"Further study of the institutions where inequalities were lowest may provide insight into the reasons for sex imbalances in grant amounts awarded during formative career stages," the researchers led by Northwestern's Brian Uzzi write in their analysis.

The researchers did find some variation by grant type. Broadly, women received less than men did for all grant types across all institutions, but women did slightly better than men on R01s: they were awarded $15,913 more.