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Study Finds Smaller Grants, Fewer Reapplications for Female Researchers

A meta-analysis appearing in the journal Research Integrity and Peer Review points to gender-related differences in individuals' likelihood of applying for or receiving large peer-reviewed grants. With the help of citations drawn from research databases from early 2005 to the end of 2020, researchers from Washington State University and the American Institute of Biological Sciences narrowed in on studies that reported grant application, grant award, or grant acceptance data by gender, focusing in on 55 published papers or funders' reports going back to 1975 that met the criteria for their meta-analysis. Based on data for nearly 1.3 million grant applications, the team saw a 1 percent uptick in acceptance rates among male applicants, though the difference was not statistically significant. On the other hand, reapplication award acceptance rates were roughly 9 percent higher for men, based on data for more than 7,300 applications, and award amounts were significantly smaller for female applicants. "The proportions of women that applied for grants, re-applied, accepted awards, and accepted awards after reapplication were less than the proportion of eligible women," the authors said. "However, the award acceptance rate was similar for women and men … Women received smaller awards and fewer awards after re-applying, which may negatively affect continued scientific productivity."