Skip to content
Education Training, Science

Anonymisation Unveils a New Frontier for Equity and Diversity in Australian Research Facilities

Australian Government's Women in STEM Ambassador 3 mins read
Improved Early-Career Researcher OutcomesnAnonymisation statistically significantly boosted the success rates for applications led by early-career researchers at ACNS, irrespective of the applicant's gender.n

A multi-year study led by the office of Australia’s Women in STEM Ambassador investigated the impact of anonymisation (removing identifying names and other information) on applications for access to research facilities in Australia. The results provide crucial insights that have the potential to reshape the landscape of equity and diversity in the research sector.

 

Breaking the Barriers for Early-Career Researchers

The study revealed a substantial discovery: anonymising applications for scientific equipment significantly benefitted early-career researchers, offering them an increased chance of success, irrespective of gender.

 

Australia’s Women in STEM Ambassador, Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, says, "This study goes beyond the usual assumptions about anonymisation in competitive grants and highlights the real struggles of early-career researchers in academia."

 

Key Findings: A Closer Look

  • Before anonymisation, no gender gaps in application outcomes were observed.
  • The introduction of anonymisation maintained the existing gender equity landscape.
  • Anonymisation enhanced success rates for early-career researchers, fostering diversity in the research pool.
  • The study suggests a positive impact of anonymisation on the broader retention and advancement of researchers facing barriers in STEM research.

 

Improved Early-Career Researcher Outcomes

Anonymisation statistically significantly boosted the success rates for applications led by early-career researchers at ACNS, irrespective of the applicant’s gender.

 

Dr Isabelle Kingsley, lead researcher on the study, highlights, "Our focus was on finding out how organisations could create an equitable research environment. Anonymisation proved to be a powerful tool."

 

Trailblazing the Anonymisation Journey

The trial was conducted across four cross-disciplinary research organisations managing national scientific facilities, including:

  • Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT)
  • The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s (ANSTO) Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering (ACNS
  • Australia Telescope National Facility (ATNF) which is owned and operated by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency
  • National Computational Merit Allocation Scheme (NCMAS)

 

Each organisation implemented anonymisation differently but results across organisations were fairly consistent.

 

Additional Quotes:

Associate Professor Lisa Williams, Chief Investigator on the grants that funded this work, remarks, "Anonymising applications removes access to information that can lead to psychological biases, offering a fairer assessment for all applicants."

 

Dr Isabelle Kingsley emphasises, "Securing access to research facilities is as pivotal as winning grants. Anonymisation levels the playing field, making it less about prestige and more about merit."

 

Driving Positive Change in STEM

The study's impact extends beyond application outcomes, potentially creating a positive ripple effect in the STEM career pipeline. Removing personal information from applications can be a catalyst for removing systemic barriers to career advancement.

 

In conclusion, Professor Harvey-Smith states, "Access to research facilities is just one piece of the puzzle in STEM inequity. Anonymisation addresses a crucial aspect, fostering a more inclusive and diverse research landscape."

 

About the Study: The research was conducted by the office of the Australian Government’s Women in STEM Ambassador at UNSW Sydney, focusing on four key research infrastructure collections in Australia. The research brief and preprint can be accessed here.

 

For media inquiries, contact: Becky Laurence, 0466 942 077


Key Facts:

·      Before anonymisation, no gender gaps in application outcomes were observed.

·      The introduction of anonymisation maintained the existing gender equity landscape.

·      Anonymisation enhanced success rates for early-career researchers, fostering diversity in the research pool.

·      The study suggests a positive impact of anonymisation on the broader retention and advancement of researchers facing barriers in STEM research.


About us:

The Women in STEM Ambassador is an Australian Government initiative to address gender inequities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Led by Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith and based at the University of New South Wales, the Office of the Women in STEM Ambassador influences and mobilises Australia’s business leaders, educators and policymakers to increase the participation of women and girls in STEM. 


Contact details:

For media inquiries, contact: Becky Laurence, 0466 942 077

Media

More from this category

  • Science
  • 25/07/2024
  • 21:18
PsiQuantum

PsiQuantum Adds First US-Based Utility-Scale Quantum Computer to its Future Plans

BRISBANE, Queensland, Australia. PsiQuantum today announced that it will build its second utility-scale quantum computer in Chicago, Illinois as part of a partnership with the State of Illinois, Cook County, and the City of Chicago. PsiQuantum To Build First US-Based Utility-Scale Quantum Computer in Chicago, Illinois (Press Release) This announcement follows the Australian Commonwealth and Queensland governments announcing that PsiQuantum will build its first utility-scale quantum computer in Brisbane. PsiQuantum’s operations and plans in Australia remain unchanged with the construction at the site slated to begin in 2025 and the site to be operational by the end of 2027. In…

  • Education Training, Union
  • 25/07/2024
  • 16:11
National Tertiary Education Union

ANU’s $2 million wage theft admission more evidence of broken system

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has called for urgent national action after the Australian National University became the latest institution embroiled in a wage theft scandal. The university has admitted underpaying 2290 workers $2 million over 11 years, blaming a systems error for casual timesheets not being processed. ANU also may not have been paying up to 130 staff on-call allowances when they worked in emergencies. With wage theft rampant across higher education, the NTEU is calling for federal action to address insecure work and a broken governance system that have allowed the practice to be baked into universities’…

  • Education Training, General News
  • 25/07/2024
  • 13:33
Stride Education

Melbourne Victory Football Club Champions Youth Wellbeing at Westgarth Primary School

Melbourne Victory Football Club, in partnership with Stride Education, is thrilled to announce the launch of a groundbreaking youth wellbeing program at Westgarth Primary School, Northcote. Set to commence in July 2024, this innovative initiative integrates social-emotional learning with sports, aiming to foster holistic development among grade 5 students. Leading the program for Stride Education is Jordan Schmidt, an Australian Survivorsuperfan and esteemed teen mentor. Following a successful pilot in 2023, the Supportive Friends in Action program will deliver a series of dynamic workshops focusing on social cohesion, emotional and behavioural management, decision-making, mindset, empathy, and conflict resolution. Benjamin Cunningham,…

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time you distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.