Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

New Study by CSDE Affiliates Erosheva and Lee Finds Significant Black – White Differences in NIH Grant Award Outcomes

Posted: 10/12/2020 (CSDE Research)


In a new study by CSDE Affiliates Elena Erosheva, Carole Lee and Statistics PhD student Sheridan Grant, the team has found significant Black-White difference in NIH Grant Award Outcomes. The team’s NIH R01 project has yielded several publications. Most recently, in their study, which sampled from over 54,000 R01 applications submitted between 2014-2016 by Black and White investigators, they assessed whether investigator race explains any part of the criterion scoring differences in the review process and how criterion scores are combined to produce the final review score. They used an exact matching approach to arrive at balanced samples and then a multilevel modeling analyses to evaluate outcomes. They find that funding award decisions for Black scientists is 55% lower than that for white scientists. They also find that an important explanation for gaps in final review scores is due to the preliminary criterion scoring where the Black-white gaps are high across all criteria.  For more about the study, read the article published in Advances in Science in June 2020. Building on their findings, they have published an opinion letter in the Correspondence section of The Lancet  to explain how even alternative approaches to funding grants might perpetuate racial disparities due to inequalities prior to or early on in the grant review process.