A new study published in the journal BMJ open has found that female scientists are awarded significantly less research funding compared to their male counterparts.

The research, conducted by Professor Michael Head at University College London, investigated awards made to UK academic institutions for research in the infectious disease area between 1997 and 2010.

In total, 6,052 studies were included in the analysis and findings showed that 72% of awards were to men and only 28% to women.

“Women received less funding in absolute amounts and in relative terms, by funder and  the type of science funded along the R&D pipeline. These differences in funding between men and women persist over time,” the authors stated.

Men also received increased amounts of funding with a total of £1.786 million (78.5%), while women received only £488 million (21.5%). The researchers showed that there has been an increase in the total share of funding received by women, which improved from around 14% in 1998 to  27% in 2009.

Analysis of the sums awarded to individual research projects showed that women also received substantially less money than men did. The average value of a grant awarded to men was £179,389 compared with £125,556 for women.

“We strongly urge policy-makers, funders and scientists to urgently investigate the  factors leading to the observed differences and develop policies to address them, in order to ensure  that women are appropriately supported in scientific endeavour,”the authors concluded.

The full article can be accessed here.