Analysis of the SFI Review Process

Science Foundation Ireland has been collecting and analysing data on application submission and success rates by gender since 2011. These data have enabled us to examine success rates and funding amounts across SFI’s portfolio of grants and to expose any unintended biases which may exist between the genders (binary) in the review process.

In support of SFI’s commitment to the transparency of its review processes, we present 2 interactive dashboards representing analyses of gender disaggregated data across a cohort SFI Funding Programmes from 2011.  A full data description can be found in the data summary.

Two dashboards are presented below: The SFI Gender Dashboard includes the number of applications and grants awarded, success rates and average grant size awarded by gender for programme calls between 2011-2021; The Funding Analysis Dashboard shows the average grant size requested by applicants and the average grant size awarded, by gender, for programme calls between 2011-2021.

To navigate between the two dashboards, please click on the navigation button to the right-hand side. To access the Data Summary file explaining the data, please click on the ‘Click here to access Data Summary file’ button. To navigate the dashboard, please select the year and/or programme from the drop-down menu on the right-hand side. To directly compare different programmes on the SFI Gender Dashboard, please choose from the drop-down menu at the bottom of the dashboard. To cancel all filters, please click the reset button on the right-hand side of the dashboard. 

The data presented as part of the SFI Gender Dashboard is available to use free of charge and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) Licence. Please refer to the data summary for a full description of these data.

SFI Gender Initiatives

  • SFI is committed to increasing the number of SFI grants held by women, as described in its Gender Strategy.
  • Towards achieving this goal, the SFI Frontiers for the Future Programme will provide additional supports for excellent researchers who are women in securing funding.
  • When ranking applications, in the event of applications receiving the same final score, SFI will give priority in the review process to applications from candidates who are women.

  • Since SFI and the IRC are committed to increasing the number of grants held by women, the SFI-IRC Pathway programme will encourage eligible Research Bodies to seek applications from excellent women.
  • To this end, each Research Body may nominate a maximum of eight applications (out of a possible 16) to the STEM led stream and a maximum of four applications (out of a possible 8) to the AHSS-led stream, from men. 
  • Upon submission to SFI and the IRC, all applications will be treated equally regardless of the gender of the applicant.
  • Through a recent SFI-IRC Pathway call, SFI enabled the use of ‘Other’ to accommodate an applicant who identifies as non-binary.
  • SFI wishes to note that the category ‘Other’ is an interim measure to support applicants who do not identify as a woman or a man.  SFI will be working closely with the community to ensure that, going forward, our data fields enable the most comprehensive picture of our applicants’ preferred gender to be collected. This will be critical in supporting the development of targeted EDI measures in our programme calls.  

  • Since the SFI Research Professorship programme was launched in 2004, there has been a low number of applications from women.
  • More recently, SFI introduced two preferred themes for this programme, one of which is “Women in Research Professorship Roles”.
  • For this theme, applicants submitting an Expression of Interest do not require a pre-approval step and may hold a joint appointment with an institution anywhere in the world.
  • Furthermore, grants awarded to women may be supplemented with an additional €100,000 payment to support the costs associated specifically with the recruitment of a woman into a professorial role.

  • SFI acknowledges that there is gender imbalance within some SFI Research Centres, particularly in leadership roles.
  • In order to address gender imbalance, SFI Research Centres will develop a Gender Action Plan to support improvements.

  • In line with the development of a new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, SFI will implement the use of additional gender categories to represent applicants who do not identify as a woman or a man.
  • In this regard, SFI will look to adopt five gender categories as per HEA guidelines.