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Comment & Response
August 13, 2019

Sex Differences in Grant Funding

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois
JAMA. 2019;322(6):578-580. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.7836

To the Editor Dr Oliveira and colleagues compared National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant amounts to first-time male and female principal investigators (PIs).1 The authors suggested that their data indicate that there are “[f]unding disparities favoring men” among certain grant types. However, their data may be misleading because the authors presented only the numerator data, ie, the size of the grant award. Missing is the denominator, ie, the dollar amount the investigators actually requested—the “unknown denominator problem.”2 Perhaps women actually requested smaller awards. Therefore, comparisons should be made between the percentages of budget funds requested that investigators actually received.