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Two datasets show research funding of chief investigators and all investigators:

  • The Australian Research Council (ARC)
  • The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)

These help us understand the success rate of women and men researchers in STEM and other fields.

Explore interactive data and insights on this page:

Research grant funding

See how many researchers (chief investigators and investigators) applied for and received funding in 2020.

Source: Australian Research Council (ARC) unpublished; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) unpublished

Data insights

In 2020, research grant funding success rates for women and men researchers were similar in STEM fields.

For Australian Research Council funding schemes starting in 2020 there was a 26% success rate for women chief investigators and all women investigators named on research applications. Men achieved a 24% success rate for chief investigators and 25% for all researchers.

For National Health and Medical Research Council funding in STEM fields of research, women achieved a 13% success rate, while men achieved 11%. The success rate for chief investigators was 13% for both men and women.

However, fewer women in STEM fields were named on applications than men. This resulted in fewer women gaining funding. The proportion of all women named on applications was only 21% for ARC and 33% for NHMRC. 22% of all funded researchers in funding schemes starting in 2020 for ARC were women and 37% for NHMRC.

In STEM fields of research, the proportion of women chief investigators on applications was 23% for ARC, and 34% for NHMRC in 2020. Of those who received ARC funding, 24% were women. From NHMRC, 35% were women.

In 2020, the proportion of women researchers that applied for, and received, grants in STEM fields of research was greater than in 2018.

The NHMRC predominantly funds health and medical research, including STEM fields. Women comprised 45% of investigators NHMRC funded in health fields in 2020.

For context, ARC workforce data from 2017 shows a high proportion of women researchers in health fields. They accounted for 52% of the research workforce in health fields, compared to 29% in STEM fields.

About the data

ARC and NHMRC provide the data.

The dataset shows the number of researchers (chief investigators and investigators) who were named on applications, and received, funding each year from the major funding bodies. It uses the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC) at the 2‑digit level.

We define whether data falls in STEM, non-STEM and health fields of research per our methodology. It is important to note that data regarding researchers working in health or non‑STEM fields doesn’t indicate that they don’t hold STEM qualifications or are not working in a STEM occupation.

ARC includes ‘Medical and Health Sciences’ (Division 11) and ‘Psychology and Cognitive Sciences’ (Division 17) within its definition of STEM. These classifications don’t align with our definition. Therefore, its data and reporting may not be comparable with collated numbers provided on this page.

Read more about our methodology and this data

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