Facts on Danish granting bodies

Independent Research Fund Denmark (IRFD)

  • The board of directors is composed of only 33.3% women.
  • Four of the five councils are currently formed with an underrepresentation of women:
  1. The current council of Natural Sciences is composed of 33.3% women.
  2. The current council of Medical Sciences is composed of 29% women.
  3. The current council of Social Sciences is composed of 33.3% women.
  4. The current council of Technology & Production Sciences is 11% women.

Figure 1: Proportion of women (25.6%) represented on these four IRFD committees .

  • The current council of Humanities  is composed of 66.6% women (an excellent representation of women).
  • There is no visibility in the distribution of women’s success in obtaining grants in the latest annual report within the individual councils. Continued visibility of distribution of women’s grants is required.
  • There is a consistent male gender bias in distribution of scientific grants from the IRFD over the past decade, which has continued up until this year. Statistics showing this from 2005 to 2014 have been extracted from the danish article: https://videnskab.dk/kultur-samfund/ydun-ligestillingsprogram-kvindelige-forskere-drukner-i-et-hav-af-ulighed

The dark blue column highlights the disproportion of money given to male scientists, even when taking into account the higher proportion of submitted and successfully obtained grants by male scientists.

Lundbeck Foundation

  • The Research and Prize committee has a  good representation of women, 66.6%.
  • The 8 members of the external Biomedicine science panel are exclusively men.
  • The Grants & Prizes panel consists of 50% women.
  • The Talent Panel consists of 40% women.
  • In the published list of research prize winners dating back to 2001, two female scientists have received the “Lundbeck foundations Research prize for Young Scientists” in the last 18 years, winning in years, 2017 and 2018.
  • The number of represented female researchers receiving Lundbeck’s Talent Prizes is underrepresented (that is less than 50%) with only 24% of winners.
  • There is no visibility in the % of women grant winners in Lundbeck Foundation’s annual reports.

Novo Nordisk Foundation

  • The board of directors is composed of 33.3% women.
  • Most committees are underrepresented of women members.

Figure 2: Proportion of women (35.6%) represented on Novo Nordisk Foundation committees (all committees combined).

  • In 2016, a 4% gender bias of grants in favour of men was found for all Research and Innovation grants (within biotechnology, innovation, nursing, art, art history and socioeconomic impact of research).
  • In 2015, this gender bias was 1%, in 2014, this gender bias was 3%. In 2013, no reporting was made on distribution of grants based on gender.

Carlsberg Foundation

  • The board of directors is composed of 20% women.
  • Since 2014,  20% of winners of the Foundation’s Research prizes have been women.
  • In 2017,  29.8% of grant recipients were female.
  • Better reporting of women’s success in grants is required.

Innovation Foundation Denmark

  • The board has a good representation of women, 44.4%.
  • There is no visibility in the annual reports on distribution of scientific grants based on gender.

Velux Foundations 

  • The board of the Villum foundation is composed of 29% women.
  • The board of the Velux foundation is composed of 40% women.
  • The senior advisers for research are composed of 38% women.
  • Villum foundation awarded grants to 26.8% women in 2017 in the fields of Technical and Scientific research, Social projects abroad, Environment and sustainability and Society.
  • Velux foundation awarded grants to 46% of women in 2017, in the area of social projects, opthamology, interdisciplinary projects, humanities, gerontology and geriatrics.
  • Better reporting and more visibility of women’s success in grants is required.

These facts were collected in September 2018 based on annual reporting and website information available on the granting bodies websites.

There is evidence to suggest that assessing grants based on science rather than the applicant can remove gender biased decision making.

Article on bioRxiv (Witteman and Hendricks)

Article on gender bias outcomes when anonymizing grants

Anonymization is being trialled in Denmark, with one example called the Villum experiment showing the amazing potential of this strategy in reviewing grants.