White principal investigators (PIs) are consistently funded at higher rates than most non-white PIs. Funding rates for white PIs have also been increasing relative to annual overall rates with time. Moreover, disparities occur across all disciplinary directorates within the NSF and are greater for research proposals. The distributions of average external review scores also exhibit systematic offsets based on PI race.
Similar patterns have been described in other research funding bodies, suggesting that racial disparities are widespread. The prevalence and persistence of these racial disparities in funding have cascading impacts that perpetuate a cumulative advantage to white PIs across all of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.