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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Hughes Selects Its (Mostly Male) Early-Career Scientists
31 March 2009 6:03 pm
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has chosen 50 early-career biomedical scientists to each receive a 6-year, $1.5 million grant to chase their research dreams. The winners, chosen from nearly 2100 applicants, include experts in fields as varied as stickleback fish evolution, organ regeneration, and biophysics of DNA repair. What the list does not include, however, is an abundance of women.
Forty-one of the new hires are men; nine are women. The overwhelmingly male ratio (more than 4 to 1) is consistent with past outcomes, says HHMI spokesperson Avice Meehan. “The number [of women] is within the ballpark percentage of prior competitions—they oscillate between a quarter and just under a quarter,” she said.
It’s “disappointing” to hear that, notes Donna Nelson, an organic chemist at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, who has conducted studies of women in science. The ratio of men to women receiving Ph.D.s in the biological sciences in the United States is now roughly 1 to 1, recent data from the National Science Foundation show, and has been that way for more than a decade. The last time the male-female ratio for Ph.D.s hovered at 4 to 1 was in 1978.
Meehan explains that HHMI’s selections were “based on scientific accomplishment and future promise without regard to gender, race, ethnicity, or other protected categories.” HHMI also made an effort to distribute awards among geographic locations, by gender, ethnicity, and scientific field, she said. She adds that only about one-quarter of the applicants were female, which helps to explain the outcome.
HHMI President Thomas Cech, who steps down today after 10 years at the helm, pushed these early-career awards because he and others felt that government institutions had become too slow to recognize talent-risking career gridlock. Tomorrow marks the first day on the job for Robert Tjian.