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Women in STEM Research: Federal Agencies Differ in the Data They Collect on Grant Applicants
Three of the six federal grant-making agencies we reviewed that support research in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields - the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture - routinely collect demographic information about the individual researchers who apply for and receive federal grants. Further, these agencies have data systems that could facilitate analysis of differences, if any, in grants made to women and men. The three agencies stated they use this demographic information for research and internal analysis of their applicant pool. The other three agencies in our review - the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and NASA - do not routinely collect demographic information about researchers who submit grant proposals and receive awards. These agencies or some of their components reported they were uncertain of the legal constraints around collecting these data and that their agencies had no internal purpose for such information.
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