Gender diversity of research consortia contributes to funding decisions in a multi-stage grant peer-review process

Authors : Stefano Bianchini, Patrick Llerena, Sıla Öcalan-Öze, Emre Özel

This study seeks to draw connections between the grant proposal peer-review and the gender representation in research consortia.

We examined the implementation of a multi-disciplinary, pan-European funding scheme—EUROpean COllaborative RESearch Scheme (2003–2015)—and the reviewers’ materials that this generated. EUROCORES promoted investigator-driven, multinational collaborative research in multiple scientific areas and brought together 9158 Principal Investigators (PI) who teamed up in 1347 international consortia that were sequentially evaluated by 467 expert panel members and 1862 external reviewers.

We found systematically unfavourable evaluations for consortia with a higher proportion of female PIs. This gender effect was evident in the evaluation outcomes of both panel members and reviewers: applications from consortia with a higher share of female scientists were less successful in panel selection and received lower scores from external reviewers.

Interestingly, we found a systematic discrepancy between the evaluative language of written review reports and the scores assigned by reviewers that works against consortia with a higher share of female participants.

Reviewers did not perceive female scientists as being less competent in their comments, but they were negatively sensitive to a high female ratio within a consortium when scoring the proposed research project.

URL : Gender diversity of research consortia contributes to funding decisions in a multi-stage grant peer-review process

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-022-01204-6


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