Gender smog in grant review

Jun 19 2015 Published by under Gender, Grant Review, NIH, NIH Careerism

I noticed something really weird and totally unnecessary.

When you are asked to review grants for the NIH you are frequently sent a Word document review template that has the Five Criteria nicely outlined and a box for you to start writing your bullet points. At the header to each section it sometimes includes some of the wording about how you are supposed to approach each criterion.

A recent template I received says under Investigator that one is to describe how the

..investigator’s experience and qualifications make him particularly well-suited for his roles in the project?

Grrr.

12 responses so far

  • jmgrohneuro says:

    Yup. Not an anomaly. I was sent that template a few years ago....

  • Kevin. says:

    Not defending it, but my understanding is that defaulting to one pronoun is/was preferred grammatically (for example, by those that make the MLA handbook) than repeatedly using the comparatively clunky 'he or she' or 'his or her.' Male chauvinism was chosen over tedious political correctness.

    Personally, I'm fine with 'they/their.'

  • becca says:

    Personally, I'm fine with she/her.

  • qaz says:

    What's wrong with "it"? That's the gender-neutral singular pronoun in English. So, if we don't know the gender, then we should use the neutral pronoun.

    I generally use "it" when I have control of my text and "they" when I don't. When editors balk at the use of "they/their" for this, I point them to the "singular they", which has a long history. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singular_they

  • AcademicLurker says:

    I'm on team singular "they"/"their". To the grammar Nazis I say: if it was good enough for Jane Austen, it's good enough for you.

  • physioprof says:

    Here's another vote for singular they/their.

  • Pascale says:

    OMG. I agree with physioprof.

  • Ola says:

    Your SRO must be using a VERY old template.

    I just looked back thru' several years of critiques, dating back to the October 2009 cycle, for which the critique template lists April 2009 as date modified. I can't find that verbage anywhere. The one we get doesn't have any advice on the document itself, but the 5 headings (significance, investigator etc) are hyper-linked to the following page, which has gender neutral language.

    http://grants.nih.gov/grants/peer/critiques/rpg.htm

  • dr24hours says:

    Clearly, you need to describe the grooming and heft of their testicles.

  • drugmonkey says:

    The New Biosketch does not contain a place for that information.

  • jmz4gtu says:

    It does if your male anatomy can be considered a "contribution to science", perhaps by being sufficiently large or small enough to warrant closer investigation.

    Side note, a lot of the labs that study meiotic recombination use male-specific materials "donated" by the PI, so there's at least one valid way males could be uniquely qualified.

  • drugmonkey says:

    That is effin' creepy. Srsly.

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