NHMRC will fund 31 more of Australia’s most talented female researchers through a special initiative to address the difference in funded rates between female and male lead investigators.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) will fund 31 more of Australia’s most talented female researchers through a special initiative to address the difference in funded rates between female and male lead investigators.

The funded rate for female lead investigators in the Project Grant scheme has been consistently lower than the funded rate for male lead investigators since 2001.

NHMRC is working to address the difference between funded rates for male and female lead investigators. Men achieve on average 4% higher funded rates than women under NHMRC’s largest funding scheme – Project Grants (Figure 1).

In 2017, when this initiative was first introduced, NHMRC funded 34 additional projects led by women, supported by an allocation of strategic funding, reducing the difference in funded rate between male and female lead investigators to 1.8%.

Without this additional allocation of funding, women would continue to have significantly lower funded rates than men.

Funding an additional 31 female lead investigators in 2018 increases the female funded rate from 14.6% to 16.7%, reducing the difference between women and men to approximately 1%. The funded rate for men will remain unchanged at 17.6%.

 

NHMRC is continuing to fund research excellence. All applications funded as a result of this initiative are highly competitive and have received at least a Category 5 score (very good) on a scale from 1-7.

NHMRC has had a long-standing commitment to retaining women in health and medical research, articulated in the NHMRC Corporate Plan 2018–2019.

NHMRC will continue its work to support gender equality, including continuing to consider approaches to eliminating the gap between male and female funded rates.

This funding complements other NHMRC initiatives to advance gender equality, such as including seven gender equality policy requirements in NHMRC’s Administering Institution Policy and the assessment of track record relative to opportunity, including career disruptions, in assessment of funding applications.

More information about NHMRC’s work to support gender equality can be found in NHMRC’s Gender Equality Strategy 2018-2021.