Award rate inequities in biomedical research

PLoS One. 2022 Jul 1;17(7):e0270612. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0270612. eCollection 2022.

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: The analysis of existing institutional research proposal databases can provide novel insights into science funding parity. The purpose of this study was to analyze the relationship between race/ethnicity and extramural research proposal and award rates across a medical school faculty and to determine whether there was evidence that researchers changed their submission strategies because of differential inequities across submission categories.

METHOD: The authors performed an analysis of 14,263 biomedical research proposals with proposed start dates between 2010-2022 from the University of Michigan Medical School, measuring the proposal submission and award rates for each racial/ethnic group across 4 possible submission categories (R01 & Equivalent programs, other federal, industry, and non-profit).

RESULTS: Researchers from each self-identified racial/ethnic group (Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino) pursued a different proposal submission strategy than the majority group (White). The authors found that Black/African American researchers experienced negative award rate differentials across all submission categories, which resulted in the lowest R01 & Equivalent and Other Federal submission rates of any racial/ethnic group and the highest submission rate to non-profit sources. The authors did not find support for the hypothesis that researchers changed submission strategies in response to award rate inequalities across submission categories.

CONCLUSIONS: Biomedical researchers from different racial/ethnic groups follow markedly different proposal submission strategies within the University of Michigan Medical School. There is also a clear relationship between race/ethnicity and rates of proposal award. Black/African American and Asian researchers appear disadvantaged across all submission categories relative to White researchers. This study can be easily replicated by other academic research institutions, revealing opportunities for positive intervention.

PMID:35776730 | PMC:PMC9249172 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0270612

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