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Call for research proposals

Title of the Study: Research on Science, Technology and Innovation Gender Gaps and their Economic Costs in Latin America and the Caribbean

Women worldwide remain largely underrepresented in many dimensions of science, technology and innovation (STI) activities, generating a potential important shortfall of talent and creativity. This situation reflects a broad set of factors such as: widespread cultural stereotypes; a persistent wage-gap in highly-skilled occupations; the difficulty to reconcile professional careers and child-caring responsibilities; explicit and implicit biases against women in academic life; and the absence of adequate role models.

Available information from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) clearly confirms this global trend. In the case of Latin America and the Caribbean, For example, the proportion of women researchers in engineering and technology was just 21 percent in Chile for 2011 and 19 percent in Colombia for 2010. Focusing on intellectual property rights, from 2006 to 2011, only 6.5 percent of the Latin American patents registered in the United States were by solo women, while 69.6 percent were by solo men, and the remainder was registered jointly.

This situation represents a serious waste of available creative intellectual resources and lost opportunity for societies. Therefore, estimating what are the economic costs resulting from women’s underrepresentation in these activities is a topic that has lately caught the attention of scholars and policymakers. However, it is still relatively unexplored in the context of LAC, although the situation of women in the region is not dissimilar to that in developed countries.

Call for proposals

The Competitiveness and Innovation Division of the IDB will finance the development of research papers that generate empirical evidence on the existence and magnitude of the costs of gender gaps in STI activities for the LAC region.

More specifically, this call for proposals aims at:

(1) Identifying what economic outcomes are more likely to be impacted by gender gaps in STI activities;

(2) Measuring the magnitude of the (positive) negative effects that (closing) gender gaps in STI activities have on the identified economic outcomes; and

(3) Understanding the mechanisms that explain the causal effect from gender gaps in STI activities to economic outcomes.

Researchers are invited to send proposals on the following topics, although any additional research topic aligned with the objectives of this call is also welcome.

(1) Macroeconomic costs. Addressing the effects of gender gaps at the economy level.

(2) Scientific production. Addressing how gender gaps affect research focus, publications, research outputs and scientific collaboration.

(3) Firm performance: Addressing the effects of gender gaps in STI activities at the firm or industry level, including the dimension of high potential entrepreneurship.

(4) Impact Evaluation: Addressing the effects that existing programs aimed at promoting gender equality in STI activities have on key economic outputs.

Language and deadline for proposal submission

Researchers are invited to submit a 5-page proposal in English or Spanish by 7 February 2016 to following the guidelines of the Call for Proposals document.


The IDB will contribute up to US$12,000 for each selected study proposal.


The research project will have a total duration of 6 months.

Place of work

Home based and participation in the Gender Summit 8 North America to be held in Mexico City on 28-29 April.

Key information

Download the guidelines of the Call for Proposals document

Deadline to send proposals: 7 February, 2016

More information:

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