Gender Disparities Among Oral Health Researchers Lead to Funding Gaps

Dentistry Today


Despite efforts to improve diversity in the biomedical workforce, women only make up about 30% of applicants and recipients of funding from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), the agency reports.

To find out if this gap is due to disparities in obtaining research funding, policy analysts including experts at NIDCR accessed data on National Institutes of Health (NIH) and NIDCR grant funding in oral health research and academic dentistry.

The researchers found that women are underrepresented among established oral health researchers, so there are fewer submitted research project grant applications from women compared to men. 

Once submitted, however, applications from women are funded at the same rate as those from men. Also, there was no evidence of large gender differences related to degree type and age of first major research project grant award, such as R01 grants. 

Because there was no observed gender difference in funding rates, the researchers said, the results suggest that the numbers of male and female grant recipients might even out if women and men were equally represented in NIH and NIDCR applicant pools. 

The researchers believe these findings can inform future efforts to increase the representation of women in dental and oral health research. 

The study, “Trends in Academic Dentistry and Oral Health Research Funding by Gender,” was published by JDR Clinical & Translational Research.

Related Articles

Women and the Changing Face of Dentistry

Nearly 30% of Dentists Today Are Female

Mommy Dentists in Business Meet in Chicago