Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Minnows Suffer 'Systemic Bias' in Funding

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Minnows Suffer 'Systemic Bias' in Funding

Article excerpt

Established science academics at small universities in Canada are 42 per cent less likely to secure federal research funding than their counterparts at large institutions, according to a paper that highlights the "systemic bias" against small universities.

The paper, "Bias in research grant evaluation has dire consequences for small universities", published in Plos One, found that funding success was also 20 per cent lower for established researchers at medium-sized institutions.

The research was based on an analysis of funding levels and success rates for individual applications submitted to Canada's Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council from 2011 to 2014.

It predicts that individual funding support will decline at all institutions during the next decade, because of a bias towards established researchers that already hold a Discovery Grant - an individual research grant from NSERC - but especially at small universities; it estimates that the number of funded researchers will decline by two-thirds at small institutions and one-third at large and medium-sized institutions, if "skews are left uncorrected".

Dennis Murray, Canada research chair in terrestrial ecology and co-author of the study, said that the research used NSERC's definitions of the size of a university, which is based on the amount of funding that the institution typically receives but strongly correlates to the number of students. …

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