0
We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Research Letter |

Sex Differences in Institutional Support for Junior Biomedical Researchers FREE

Robert Sege, MD, PhD1; Linley Nykiel-Bub, BA1; Sabrina Selk, ScD2
[+] Author Affiliations
1Medical Foundation Division, Health Resources in Action, Boston, Massachusetts
2National Institute for Child Healthcare Quality, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2015;314(11):1175-1177. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.8517.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Women are underrepresented in the biomedical research workforce. Only 30% of funded investigators are women.1,2 Junior faculty women have fewer peer-reviewed publications than men3,4 and are more often on clinician-educator (vs traditional) tracks.5 One reason may be differences in early-career institutional support, which to our knowledge has not been previously examined.

Application data from 2 New England biomedical research programs administered by the Medical Foundation Division of Health Resources in Action were analyzed. One program accepted applicants in a single field of study within 5 years of initial faculty appointment; the second program invited institutions to submit 2 basic science applicants within 2 years of initial appointment.

Data on start-up support provided by the employing institution (ie, salary and other support, including research technicians, equipment, and supplies) from all applications during 2012-2014 were extracted.

We compared support for men and women overall, and by scientific focus, terminal degree, and years since receiving terminal degree. Data concerning age and race were not collected. Publication data were incomplete and not included.

Two analyses were performed to examine associations with institutional characteristics. Applicants were employed by universities, hospitals, and other nonprofit research institutions. As a measure of overall institutional research resources, we stratified the sample by overall institutional funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in fiscal year 2014. We also directly compared support for men and women who applied from the same institution.

Statistical analyses were performed using Epi Info version 7.1.4 (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The P values were calculated using Kruskal-Wallis nonparametric tests (continuous variables), Spearman correlation analysis, or 2-tailed Fisher exact tests (categorical variables).

P < .05 (2-sided) was considered significant. The Hummingbird Institutional Review Board determined that this study used coded administrative data and was therefore exempt from human studies review.

The characteristics of the 219 applicants (127 men and 92 women) with complete data are reported in Table 1. An additional 8 men (6%) and 5 women (5%, P > .99) had incomplete data and were excluded.

Table Graphic Jump LocationTable 1.  Characteristics of Men and Women Applying for Early-Career Awardsa

Most applicants (67%) held PhD degrees. Women were in clinical research more frequently than men. There were no differences between men and women in terminal degree or years since receiving terminal degree.

Data on institutional start-up support are reported in Table 2. Overall, men reported significantly higher start-up support (median, $889 000 [interquartile range, $283 000-$1 250 000]) than women (median, $350 000 [interquartile range, $180 000-$775 000]; P < .001); 51 men (40%) and 11 women (12%) reported support of more than $1 million (P < .001).

Table Graphic Jump LocationTable 2.  Institutional Start-up Support for Men and Women Applying for Early-Career Awardsa

Men had higher support regardless of degree, but the difference was statistically significant only for persons with PhD degrees. In basic sciences, men reported significantly more start-up support than women. Start-up support for clinical scientists was not significantly different for men and women.

Applicants were employed by 55 institutions. The top 25% (quartile 1) of the 55 institutions each received more than $122 million in NIH funding (quartile 2: >$46 million; quartile 3: >$19 million; quartile 4: ≤$19 million). Half of the applicants were from institutions in the top funding quartile (Table 1).

When stratified by NIH funding, men had larger start-up packages within each stratum (Table 2). Five institutions had more than 10 applicants. Support for men was higher in 4 of these institutions and overall (Table 2). In this group of 5 institutions, 4 women (10%) and 19 men (42%) received more than $1 million (P = .001).

Experience (years since receiving terminal degree) did not correlate with start-up package size for men (r2 = 0.01; P = .57), women (r2 = 0; P = .60), or overall (r2 = 0; P = .80).

In this preliminary study of early-career grant applicants administered by 1 organization, junior faculty women received significantly less start-up support from their institutions than men. This discrepancy was significant only among basic scientists and was not explained by degree, years of experience, or institutional characteristics.

The limitations include reliance on limited self-reported and administrative data. The representativeness and generalizability of these results to applicants to other foundations or institutions, or to other biomedical investigators, are unknown.

This first look suggests the need for systematic study of sex differences in institutional support and the relationship to career trajectories.

Section Editor: Jody W. Zylke, MD, Deputy Editor.

Corresponding Author: Robert Sege, MD, PhD, Health Resources in Action, 95 Berkeley St, Boston, MA 02116 (rsege@hria.org).

Author Contributions: Dr Sege had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Study concept and design: Sege.

Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: All authors.

Drafting of the manuscript: Sege, Selk.

Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors.

Statistical analysis: All authors.

Obtained funding: Sege.

Administrative, technical, or material support: Sege, Nykiel-Bub.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: The authors have completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest and none were reported.

Funding/Support: The Medical Foundation Division of Health Resources in Action provided access to the administrative data.

Role of the Funder/Sponsor: The Medical Foundation Division of Health Resources in Action had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Correction: This article was corrected on October 1, 2015, to fix 1 error in Table 1 and 1 error in Table 2.

Rockey  S. Women in biomedical research. http://nexus.od.nih.gov/all/2014/08/08/women-in-biomedical-research/. Accessed April 1, 2015.
National Institutes of Health. Biomedical Research Workforce Working Group report. http://acd.od.nih.gov/Biomedical_research_wgreport.pdf. Accessed December 19, 2014.
Barnett  RC, Carr  P, Boisnier  AD,  et al.  Relationships of gender and career motivation to medical faculty members’ production of academic publications. Acad Med. 1998;73(2):180-186.
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Holliday  EB, Jagsi  R, Wilson  LD,  et al.  Gender differences in publication productivity, academic position, career duration, and funding among US academic radiation oncology faculty. Acad Med. 2014;89(5):767-773.
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Mayer  AP, Blair  JE, Ko  MG,  et al.  Gender distribution of US medical school faculty by academic track type. Acad Med. 2014;89(2):312-317.
PubMed   |  Link to Article

Figures

Tables

Table Graphic Jump LocationTable 1.  Characteristics of Men and Women Applying for Early-Career Awardsa
Table Graphic Jump LocationTable 2.  Institutional Start-up Support for Men and Women Applying for Early-Career Awardsa

References

Rockey  S. Women in biomedical research. http://nexus.od.nih.gov/all/2014/08/08/women-in-biomedical-research/. Accessed April 1, 2015.
National Institutes of Health. Biomedical Research Workforce Working Group report. http://acd.od.nih.gov/Biomedical_research_wgreport.pdf. Accessed December 19, 2014.
Barnett  RC, Carr  P, Boisnier  AD,  et al.  Relationships of gender and career motivation to medical faculty members’ production of academic publications. Acad Med. 1998;73(2):180-186.
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Holliday  EB, Jagsi  R, Wilson  LD,  et al.  Gender differences in publication productivity, academic position, career duration, and funding among US academic radiation oncology faculty. Acad Med. 2014;89(5):767-773.
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Mayer  AP, Blair  JE, Ko  MG,  et al.  Gender distribution of US medical school faculty by academic track type. Acad Med. 2014;89(2):312-317.
PubMed   |  Link to Article
CME
Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.

Multimedia

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

5,247 Views
14 Citations
×

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

See Also...
Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections
PubMed Articles
Jobs