No Gender Bias in Social Science Research Fundin G, Study Concludes

Times Higher Education, September 10, 2015 | Go to article overview

No Gender Bias in Social Science Research Fundin G, Study Concludes


Female social scientists in the UK are not discriminated against when applying for grants, a major study of funding decisions in the area has concluded.

This is in contrast to other fields, where data from the UK, US and European Union suggest that women are less likely to submit grant applications and win funding.

Paul Boyle, vice-chancellor of the University of Leicester and a former chief executive of the Economic and Social Research Council, along with five other researchers, looked at applications to the body's "open call" grant scheme between 2008 and 2013.

Overall, women were as likely as men to be awarded a grant, with a success rate of 18 per cent. Below professorial level, women were actually slightly more likely to be successful (15 per cent against 17 per cent), and at both levels received slightly larger grants.

"It's heartening that in social science in the UK women seem to be funded fairly," Professor Boyle told Times Higher Education.

In a piece outlining the results, published this week in Nature, Professor Boyle points out that although in 2012-13 social and biomedical science had similar proportions of women, female researchers from the latter field were far less likely to submit applications.

"Critiques of knowledge creation that exclude women as both researchers and participants have ensured that men in the social sciences have long been aware of the ingrained, institutionalized male culture of universities - an awareness that may be taking longer to permeate the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines," the article suggests. …

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