An unequal amount of funding might stymie female scientists as they seek to build careers and bolster research.
A study, released in JAMA by researchers from Northwestern Medicine and the university’s Kellogg School of Management, revealed women scientists received less federal funding than male scientists.
The study analyzed nearly 54,000 grants from the National Institutes of Health to first-time principal investigators and found women received about $40,000 less than men on average. Analyzing grants given from 2006 to 2017, researchers found women received an average grant amount of $126,615, while men received on average $165,721.
Previous research has shown women receive lower startup funds, but Teresa Woodruff, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine and director of the Women’s Health Research Institute, said this was the first to analyze such a large range of federal funding.
Boston researchers examined what support scientists received at the beginning of their career in a 2015 article in JAMA. They found men received higher financial startup support than women.
This means female scientists are disadvantaged at the start of their careers, Woodruff said. Having fewer resources might slow down research and the possibility of developing new treatments and medications.
“For many women, it will mean they don’t persist,” Woodruff said. “It’s impossible to measure what we’ve lost as a consequence of the inequities.”