OBJECTIVE: Recent studies have reported gender differences in research grant applications and funding outcomes for medical school faculty. Our goal was to determine whether similar patterns exist at the resident level and, if so, to explore possible explanations.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective review of all applications to an internal, mentored research grant fund at a large academic pediatric residency program from 2003 to 2008. We determined whether gender differences existed for application characteristics and outcomes and defined significant predictors of success.
RESULTS: During the 5-year period, the fund supported 42 (66%) of 64 applications. Among all applicants, men were more likely than women to hold an advanced research degree. Men requested more money than women and obtained more favorable application scores. Funding success rates were not statistically different between male and female applicants. Among funded applicants, men received higher awards than women, although the percentage of requests funded was the same. In a multiple regression analysis, advanced degree was the significant independent predictor of successful funding outcome. Controlling for advanced degree attenuated the association between gender and timing of application, type of project, dollars requested, and dollars awarded; however, even after controlling for advanced degree, women had inferior grant scores compared with men.
CONCLUSIONS: Gender differences existed in research grant applications and funding among pediatric residents that mirrored faculty patterns. Among residents, these differences were explained in part by the correlation of male gender with holding an advanced research degree.