Addressing Gender Inequality Among Dental & Oral Health Researchers

Despite some disparities, male & female applicants funded at same rates

Female scientistDiversity in the biomedical workforce is key to advancement of science. However, women researchers are underrepresented in academia, including in dental and oral health fields. Women make up only about 30% of applicants and recipients of NIDCR funding. To find out if this situation is due to disparities in obtaining research funding, policy analysts including experts at NIDCR assessed data on NIH and NIDCR grant funding in oral health research and academic dentistry. Results were published online in August in JDR Clinical and Translational Research. Among the findings:

  • Women are underrepresented among established oral health researchers; thus, there are fewer submitted research project grant applications from women as compared to men.
  • However, once submitted, applications from women are funded at the same rate as those from men.
  • There was no evidence of large gender differences related to degree type and age of first major research project grant award (i.e., R01 grants).

Because there was no observed gender difference in funding rates, 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. These encouraging findings can inform future efforts to increase the representation of women in dental and oral health research.


Garcia MN, Tiano JP, Contreras O, Hildebolt CF, Horsford J, Stewart D. Trends in Academic Dentistry and Oral Health Research Funding by Gender. JDR Clin Trans Res. 2019 Aug 3:2380084419868183. doi: 10.1177/2380084419868183. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 31378126

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Last Reviewed
August 2019

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