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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2019 Jun 28. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2018.7642. [Epub ahead of print]

The Impact of an Institutional Grant Program on the Economic, Social, and Cultural Capital of Women Researchers.

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1 Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School-Baystate, Springfield, Massachusetts.
2 Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Bethesda, Maryland.


Introduction: Early funding can have significant impact on a researcher's career. However, funding is not equal for men and women. Not only do female researchers apply for fewer grants than men, but they also experience a lower success rate when they do. The Zucker Grant Program (ZGP) was established in 2000 to promote the early success of women researchers. The purpose of this evaluation is to support other institutions hoping to grow the research careers of women scientists. Methods: This program evaluation reviewed the first 16 years of the program's history. Our mixed-methods, outcomes-based evaluation had four phases: (I) interviews with key stakeholders, (II) development and distribution of a survey to ZGP recipients, (III) focus groups and interviews with ZGP recipients, (IV) document analysis from the ZGP Center and the Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) Development Office. This article reports on the qualitative data collection and analysis. Results: Between 2000 and 2016, US$377,050 was awarded for 142 recipients. Qualitative data revealed how grant funding was critical to support pilot data in awardees' research to inform extramural grant applications. However, the program evaluation also identified effects on awardees' confidence as researchers and connection to a community. Conclusion: Outcomes are interpreted through the framework of Bourdieu's three forms of capital, including economic, social, and cultural capital. Viewed through this framework, they provide a critical infrastructure to the development and success of early career female investigators. This work offers other institutions a framework to consider when establishing intramural funding and support programs for their early career investigators.


funding for women; grant funding; program evaluation; research


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