NHMRC is committed to addressing the persistently lower participation and funded rates of female researchers. Our vision is that all researchers have equal opportunity to participate in NHMRC funding schemes and are supported to reach their full potential. 

What does the data show?

An analysis of NHMRC’s data from 2013–2017 shows that women are under-represented in senior and leadership positions in NHMRC grant schemes (see NHMRC’s Gender Equality Strategy 2018–2021 for further information). This trend continues to be reflected in the new grant program, particularly in the Investigator Grants scheme. 

Data on the outcomes of funding rounds are published on our website. This includes the number of applications and funded rates by gender, from 2013 to the most recent round under the new grant program. The Factsheets provide a quick reference point to key statistics. The Summary spreadsheets list the details of grants awarded including the lead investigator’s name and administering institution. 

We consider that gender equality will have been achieved when similar numbers of women and men apply for, and are funded through, all NHMRC funding schemes. We will continue to closely monitor application numbers and funded rates by gender across the new grant program in future rounds. 

What are we doing?



Year when action was initiated

Strategy and advice Released NHMRC’s Gender Equality Strategy 2018–2021 2018
Published a Summary of the 2019–2020 Action Plan  2019
Established NHMRC’s Women in Health Science Committee  2012
Continuing to seek advice from NHMRC’s Council and Principal Committees Ongoing
Peer review Encouraged the use of gender-neutral language in grant applications and peer review discussions 2020
Piloted completion of an implicit association test for gender and science for peer reviewers before rollout to all schemes   2020
Introduced actions in the Strategy to further improve the representation of women on peer review panels 2018
Facilitating participation of people with carer responsibilities in peer review panels by using videoconferencing 2015
Introduced NHMRC’s career disruption and relative to opportunity policy 2012
Grant opportunities Adjusted the timing of grant rounds due to the COVID-19 pandemic  2020
Altering timing of grant rounds to avoid school holidays 2019
Introduced part-time opportunities across all new grant program schemes 2019
Structural funding Using strategic funding to support additional grants with female Chief Investigators (CIAs) 2017
Recognition Introduced the Elizabeth Blackburn Grant Awards for top-ranked women 2013
Showcasing female researchers on website and in social media Ongoing
Administering Institutions Established gender equality policy requirements for Administering Institutions (AIs) 2015 (updated in 2019)
Reviewed how AIs are meeting the gender equality policy requirements  2015 and 2018
Published better practice examples for how AIs are meeting the gender equality policy requirements 2020

Last updated November 2020

Contact details

Email: WiHS@nhmrc.gov.au