Skip to content

National Trial of Anonymising Research Funding Proposals


In the STEM research sector, the success rate of applications to Australia’s competitive grants programs is higher for men than women [1].  This trend is in-part linked to unconscious bias in grant allocation processes [2]. Removing identifying information, such as names and gender pronouns, can reduce gender, cultural and other biases [3, 4].   

The Office of the Women in STEM Ambassador is conducting a national trial of anonymising grant proposals. In this trial, reviewers of grant proposals will not know the names or genders of the applicants during the review and allocation process. Then, the results of the trial will be compared to data from previous years to measure any differences.  The aim is to assess whether the anonymised review of proposals reduces gender bias in STEM grant programs. 

Several large Australian research organisations and funding bodies have agreed to take part in the national trial. This research project will provide important data on the effectiveness of anonymising proposals to improve equity. The results will provide a strong evidence base for government and the STEM sector to take action on more equitable processes in future.

For updates on how this project is progressing, please enter your email address here.

References:

  1. Australian Research Council. Engagement and impact assessment pilot 2017 report. Commonwealth of Australia: Australian Research Council; 2017.
  2. Chief Executive Women and Male Champions of Change. In the eye of the beholder: Avoiding the merit trap. 2016.
  3. Wittman, H., Hendricks, M., Straus, S., Tannenbaum, C. Female grant applicants are equally successful when peer reviewers assess the science, but not when they assess the scientist. [bioRxiv preprint] 2018.
  4. Strogler, L. and Natarajan, P. Doling out Hubble time with dual-anonymous evaluation. Physics Today. 2019.