Gender Equality and Inclusivity

Reflections at the Intersections Episode 2

Episode 2: Interrupting bias in funding review processes: Strategies for gender-responsive, equitable, and transparent research granting.

In scientific research, women still face significant barriers that hinder their full participation and recognition, despite strides made in gender equality. From academia to industry, disparities persist, including gender bias, unequal access to resources, and a lack of mentorship.

While expert peer review is crucial for funding allocation, grant review processes often lack anonymity, leading to biases that disproportionately affect women researchers. These biases, both individual and systemic, result in funding decisions that may not accurately reflect the scientific merit of proposals, impacting women’s career trajectories.

These barriers not only impede women’s professional advancement but also stifle diversity and innovation within the scientific community. This episode of Reflections at the Intersections aims to explore these challenges, the evidence available, discuss the composition of review panels, and explore how this ultimately impacts funding allocation.

The panel is facilitated by the HSRC’s Dr Ingrid Lynch, and took place on on 7th March 2024. The dialogue series is hosted in English with simultaneous interpretation in French and Portuguese.

These are the participating panellists:

Professor Rosemary Morgan, Associate Research Professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Rosemary Morgan is an Associate Research Professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the Department of International Health. She is the Associate Chair in Inclusion, Diversity, Anti-Racism, and Equity (IDARE) for the International Health Department. She is a co-Director of the Gender and Health Summer Institute and Coordinates the Gender and Health Certificate at JHSPH. Dr. Morgan is recognised as a specialist in gender analysis in health and health systems research, interventions, and programmes and leads projects focusing on gender responsive monitoring and evaluation and women’s leadership. 

Dr. Jenna Hicks, HRA’s Assistant Director

Dr. Jenna Hicks is the Assistant Director of the Health Research Alliance (HRA), a collaborative organisation of 100+ non-profit research funders working together to maximise the impact of biomedical research. Dr. Hicks leads the Inclusive Grantmaking Initiative, an effort to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) among HRA members and across the wider biomedical research funding community. As part of the Inclusive Grantmaking Initiative, Dr. Hicks led the development of a Bias Mitigation in Peer Review Training module for program staff at HRA member organisations.  Dr. Hicks received her PhD in biomedical sciences from the University of California, San Diego, and completed postdoctoral training in biology education research at the University of Minnesota. 

Ms. Nsama Mataka, Sub-Saharan Africa regional member of the Global Research Council’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity working group

Nsama Mataka is a board member of the National Technology Business Centre, serves as a member of the Knowledge Translation Technical Working Group of the National Health Research Authority and SGCI GEI project change team member at the National Science and Technology Council. 

Dr. Ingrid Lynch, Chief Research Specialist, Human Sciences Research Council

Dr Ingrid Lynch is a Chief Research Specialist in the Human Sciences Research Council’s (HSRC) Public Health, Societies and Belonging (PHSB) Division. She holds expertise in gender, sexuality and diversity studies, with current projects focused on Eastern and Southern Africa. She uses intersectional, participatory methods to create contextualised solutions for equitable social change.