A new study shows that 29% of whites' grant applications with the National… (David Paul Morris / Bloomberg )
Black researchers are far less likely to receive grant funding than white researchers, according to a new report published this week in the journal Science.
The report, based on a survey of 80,000 grant applications to the National Institutes of Health made by 40,000 researchers, found that 29% of grants from white applicants were accepted while only 16% from black applicants made it through.
Even after accounting for factors that do not have directly to do with race, such as education, country of origin and publication record, whites still led blacks by 10 percentage points.
Asian applications also appeared to be about 4 percentage points behind whites, but that gap disappeared after the researchers excluded noncitizens from their analysis, and then their grant rates were virtually the same as whites.
"As uncomfortable as it makes us, we must acknowledge that the differences observed may reflect biases that are insidiously interwoven into the basic fabric of the merit/reward system of science," NIH Director Francis Collins and Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak wrote in a commentary on the study.
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