The BioScience Talks podcast features discussions of topical issues related to the biological sciences.
While numerous studies have described the funding discrepancies faced by scientists at minority-serving institutions (MSIs), there is a relative paucity of information available about MSI-based scientists’ participation in grant review, the process used by research funders to allocate their budgets. A new article from the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) sheds further light on grant review and the factors that underlie scientists’ ability to participate in it.
Writing in the journal BioScience, AIBS scientists Stephen A. Gallo, Joanne H. Sullivan, and DaJoie R. Croslan describe the results of a survey disseminated to thousands of MSI-based scientists aimed at elucidating discrepancies in grant review participation between MSI-based scientists and those who work at traditionally White institutions (TWIs). The survey questions addressed a range of topics, including the scientists’ recent funding and peer review experiences, as well as their motivations for engaging in the grant review process.
The survey results point to serious issues in grant review: Only 45% of respondents from MSIs reported participating in the grant review process, compared with an earlier survey’s finding that 76% of scientists from TWIs were. This mismatch cannot be accounted for by differences in frequency of grant submission (which is roughly the same) or in scientist preferences, say the authors—76% of MSI scientists reported an interest in taking part in grant review.
In this episode of BioScience Talks, we’re joined by the article’s authors to discuss these and other findings described in their article—as well as the ways that these issues might be best addressed.