Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Race, Ethnicity, and NIH Research Awards"

Donna K. Ginther, Walter T. Schaffer. Joshua Schnell, Beth Masimore, Faye Liu, Laurel L. Haak and Raynard Kington
Science 19 August 2011:
Vol. 333 no. 6045 pp. 1015-1019
DOI: 10.1126/science.1196783

Abstract: "We investigated the association between a U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 applicant’s self-identified race or ethnicity and the probability of receiving an award by using data from the NIH IMPAC II grant database, the Thomson Reuters Web of Science, and other sources. Although proposals with strong priority scores were equally likely to be funded regardless of race, we find that Asians are 4 percentage points and black or African-American applicants are 13 percentage points less likely to receive NIH investigator-initiated research funding compared with whites. After controlling for the applicant’s educational background, country of origin, training, previous research awards, publication record, and employer characteristics, we find that black applicants remain 10 percentage points less likely than whites to be awarded NIH research funding. Our results suggest some leverage points for policy intervention."

The legacy of Americans racism is very hard to escape. The black or African-American scientists in this study have used all the possible educational means to escape from racial prejudice and it still affects them. This is especially troublesome to me in science, where we should value knowledge for itself and not from the race of its discoverer!

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