More than 6,500 scientists working in 40 UK universities and a range of publicly-funded Research Institutes responded to online surveys about their career experiences and perceptions. The research is in collaboration with the Athena Project which was set up in 1999.
Key initial findings show that:
Higher proportions of men than women experience key, high-profile roles and responsibilities.
Most scientists who have achieved success say they were encouraged to take the next step in their career progression. However, fewer than 50 per cent of women scientists aged 35-50 feel they are encouraged to develop their CV or given the opportunity to serve on important departmental committees.
Significantly lower percentages of women than men feel their departments value their contributions.
Women are more successful at achieving a post on their first application, yet 44 per cent of women feel disadvantaged in terms of promotion, whereas only 14 per cent of men believe women are disadvantaged in terms of promotion.
Research output and attracting research funding are seen as the key contributing factors for career progression. Conference keynote speaking was identified as another significant factor. However, women scientists have less experience in this area than men and women's overall visibility appears to be lower.
Lead researcher Jan Anderson said: "We know encouragement breeds success. But we have to ask if women do not notice the tap on the shoulder or whether for them the encouragement is indeed absent.”
The survery results will relate back to how to improve good practice underpinned by a better understanding of the experiences and perceptions of science academics. Key performance indicators and benchmarking will be developed for use in UK universities.