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Research Projects

In Australia’s competitive grants programs, women apply for and receive fewer grants than men. The disparity is greater in STEM fields. Our Office leads two research projects to examine gender equity in grant programs in the Australian research sector. 

Analysis of Awarded Australian Grants by Gender

We are currently examining trends in twenty years of awarded research grants in Australia by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) according to awardee gender. The analysis also accounts for other factors such as academic level, field of research, scheme, funding amount and prestige of administering organisation (manuscript in preparation). The results will provide a strong evidence base to inform the ARC and NHMRC, enabling them to take action to create more equitable future processes. 

Anonymised Review Study

"It's a really exciting project that can have real impact on future research processes."
Isabelle Kingsley
Office of the Women in STEM Ambassador Research Associate

Women’s lower success rates in grant applications, in part, reflects fewer women relative to men in different research fields and at senior levels. But a large body of research suggests that the trend is also partially due to unconscious bias. Removing identifying information from grant applications, such as names and gender pronouns, can reduce bias and level the playing field — not just for women but also other marginalised groups and early career researchers.    

Our office is leading a national trial across Australia to study the effects of anonymising grant applications for in-demand scientific equipment such as telescopes, synchrotrons, and supercomputers.  We are working with four Australian research organisations: CSIRO, ANSTO (Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation), NCI (National Computational Infrastructure) and AAL (Astronomy Australia Limited). The trial results will be compared to data from previous (non-anonymous) years to measure any differences and assess whether the anonymised peer-review impacts application outcomes.  

This study will provide important data on the effectiveness of anonymising proposals to improve equity in grant outcomes. The results will provide a strong evidence base to inform the government and enable the STEM sector to take action on more equitable future processes. 


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Check out our FAQs. There are 12 frequently asked questions (and answers) about the anonymous review study.


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We have developed tools to guide evaluation efforts across STEM equity initiatives in Australia.