Big Gender Gaps in Salk Institute Faculty: Report

Authored by Salk PIs, the study claims women attract more federal funding, yet have smaller labs and receive less support from the institute.

By Kerry Grens | August 23, 2017

WIKIMEDIA, CAROL M. HIGHSMITHA report on the financial gaps between male and female faculty at the Salk Institute finds that women bring in more than twice the dollars from the National Institutes of Health than men, yet have much smaller labs and receive less money from Salk. The 2016 document, first reported by ScienceInsider, was written by several faculty members, including Beverly Emerson, who is suing her employer for gender discrimination.

“[S]enior women faculty raise an average of $195,000 (direct and indirect costs) from NIH for each member of their labs, versus ~$95,000 in NIH funding/[full-time employee] for labs run by senior male faculty,” reads the report. At the same time, female-led labs are some of the smallest staff-wise at the institute.

Salk disputed the conclusions in a statement to ScienceInsider. “The numbers related to funding by faculty member are simply wrong.”

See “Salk Faces Gender Discrimination Lawsuits

The report outlines ways in which the Salk unevenly distributes resources, such as by offering opportunities to connect with potential donors and distributing internal funds through a non-transparent process.

Among a number of recommendations, the document asks that Salk ensure “gender-neutral faculty policies and resource allocation.”

Emerson is among three female faculty members at Salk who are suing the institute for gender discrimination.

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Avatar of: Sprangers


Posts: 1

August 24, 2017

Painfully true.  Suspect this is not isolated to The Salk. Just saying.

Avatar of: Udo


Posts: 1

August 25, 2017

First, this statement is simply wrong:

women bring in more than twice the dollars from the National Institutes of Health than men

Women bring in 2x the amount of money per member of their lab. Overall, men at Salk bring in more money, but they also hire more scientists (both men and women) to work in their labs.


Second, given ample NIH funding, how is this a complaint:

yet have much smaller labs

It doesn't make any sense for these Salk women to complain their lab size is smaller than their male peers, because apparently these women have ample funds to pay more staff scientists.


Avatar of: dumbdumb


Posts: 99

August 25, 2017

fun facts.

- There is a woman at Berkely that became professor with one single first author research paper (according to pubmed)

- there is a woman that became professor at EPFL even though she hasn't co-authored a research paper since 2014 and she didn't published any actual research article since 2012. Even though, those two years were spent as a postdoc in one of the most prestigious labs in the world.

So, here is a wild hypothesis. Women at Salk get more funding, not because they make better research, but simply as a result of affirmative action pushed by federal agencies.

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