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ERC awards biased against women, preliminary study says

Women are less successful than men when applying for European Research Council grants when their academic track record is taken into account, an unpublished study has claimed.

Helene Schiffbänker of the Austrian research organisation Joanneum Research and Peter van den Besselaar of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands presented preliminary findings from a study of ERC awards at the Open Evaluation 2016 conference in Vienna on 24 November. The researchers said that their study, which has not yet been published or peer-reviewed, found that a “gender bias does clearly exist” in the ERC’s evaluation processes.

The researchers analysed evaluation data provided by the ERC as well as CVs and academic track records for applicants to the council’s Starting Grants, and also interviewed ERC evaluation panel members. They then used a multivariate model to identify whether there was any gender bias in the data.

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