Gender bias in grants and awards

Gender differences in grant applications and their impact on scientific productivity

Veni beurzen

The study by Schmaling and Gallo (2023) sheds new light on gender differences in peer reviewed grant applications, grant awards, and award amounts. Although women submit grant applications less frequently, the systematic review and meta-analysis show that the acceptance rate for grants is similar between men and women, suggesting no gender bias in grant peer review. However, the results indicate that gender disparities still exist in this area. Women receive smaller grant amounts than men, and the research also revealed that men have a significantly higher acceptance rate after reapplying for grants compared to women. These findings suggest that women may experience adverse consequences due to smaller grant amounts and fewer awards upon reapplication, impacting their scientific productivity.

This research emphasizes the importance of increased transparency in grant allocations and the monitoring of this data to analyze gender inequality and the potential adverse effects on female scientists.

Schmaling, K. B., & Gallo, S. A. (2023). Gender differences in peer reviewed grant applications, awards, and amounts: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Research Integrity and Peer Review8(1), 2.

The gender gap in highly prestigious international research awards

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This study examines gender disparities in the world’s 141 most prestigious international research awards from 2001 to 2020. The analyses show that the proportion of female professors has increased in recent decades, however, the proportion of female winners of international prizes still lags behind. The author concludes that the gender gap is largely a result of demographic inertia and other factors that deserve further investigation.
Read the full article here.

Meho, L. I. (2021). The gender gap in highly prestigious international research awards, 2001–2020. Quantitative Science Studies2(3), 976-989.


Veni-grants: the leaking pipeline

Veni beurzen

At the request of NWO, nearly 3000 assessment files of VENI candidates were analysed. The results showed that in each step of the assessment process (pre-selection, interviews, awards), more women were dropped out compared to men. The evaluators did not see any difference in the quality of the research proposals submitted by men and women, nor in the knowledge utilization of their research, but assessed the qualities as a researcher lower among female applicants.

Van der Lee, R. & Ellemers, N. (2015). Gender contributes to personal research funding success in the Netherlands. PNAS112(40), 12349-12353.

Men are 4 percentage points more likely to be awarded a grant than women when they are judged on the quality of the researcher

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Raymond, J. L. & Goodman, M. B. (2019). Funder should evaluate projects, not people. The Lancet, 393, 494-495.

Differences in start-up grants

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Male researchers at the start of their careers received more than twice as much (median: $889,000) from their employer to set up their research programme compared to female applicants (median: $350,000). These differences could not be explained by differences in education, years of experience, or characteristics of the institution where they worked.


Sege, R., Nykiel-Bub, L., & Selk, S. (2015). Sex differences in institutional support for junior biomedical researchers. JAMA314(11), 1175-1177.