Scientists’ participation in university research centers: What are the gender differences?


University-affiliated multidisciplinary research centers have grown in importance in academia. Most research to-date has focused on these centers from an institutional perspective, with recent work only beginning to explore the ways in which such centers affect the development of academic careers. Hence, little is known about how scientists who are centeraffiliated differ from those who are not affiliated. Clearly, both selection and influence effects may be expected to operate in terms of research productivity, timing, and resources. A further puzzle is how center affiliation may differ between male and female scientists. In this study, we use a new, nationally representative dataset of scientists and engineers working in Carnegie Research Extensive universities to develop an understanding of how center-affiliated scientists differ from exclusively department-based academic scientists and engineers, and investigate the extent to which gender moderates the effects of centers. As expected, our national sample shows that women are younger, whiter, less likely to be tenured, and at a lower rank than their male colleagues. We find that women are as likely to join centers as men, and do so at a similar stage in their career. Most of the male–female differences observed in disciplinary settings are sustained in centers, but women appear to have greater research equality in them (compared to the departmental setting). In particular, men and women in centers spend the same amount of time writing grant proposals, conducting both grant-supported and unfunded research, and administering grants. This suggests that centers may constitute an institutional context in which some aspects of gender equity in science may be achieved.

Full Paper 

Corley, E. A. & Gaughan, M. (2005). Scientists’ participation in university research centers: What are the gender differences? Journal of Technology Transfer, 30 (4), 371-381.