Gender contributes to personal research funding success in The Netherlands

Romy Van Der Lee, Naomi Ellemers, Susan T. Fiske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

186 Scopus citations


We examined the application and review materials of three calls (n = 2,823) of a prestigious grant for personal research funding in a national full population of early career scientists awarded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). Results showed evidence of gender bias in application evaluations and success rates, as well as in language use in instructions and evaluation sheets. Male applicants received significantly more competitive "quality of researcher" evaluations (but not "quality of proposal" evaluations) and had significantly higher application success rates than female applicants. Gender disparities were most prevalent in scientific disciplines with the highest number of applications and with equal gender distribution among the applicants (i.e., life sciences and social sciences). Moreover, content analyses of the instructional and evaluation materials revealed the use of gendered language favoring male applicants. Overall, our data reveal a 4% "loss" of women during the grant review procedure, and illustrate the perpetuation of the funding gap, which contributes to the underrepresentation of women in academia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12349-12353
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number40
StatePublished - Oct 6 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Academia
  • Gender bias
  • Research funding
  • STEM
  • Success rates


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