Lab Manager | Run Your Lab Like a Business
An award with a double helix
iStock, fatido

Asian Scientists Are Underrepresented in Top Biomedical Research Prizes

Over 90 percent of biomedical research prizes go to White recipients

by Cell Press
Register for free to listen to this article
Listen with Speechify

In the United States, Asian researchers are awarded top research prizes far less frequently than their White colleagues, finds a commentary publishing in the journal Cell on February 3. The field of biomedical research in the US is made up of 20 percent Asian researchers, but the analysis finds that over 90 percent of biomedical research prizes go to White recipients.

In the commentary, University of California San Francisco neuroscientist Yuh Nung Jan analyzes eight long-running research prizes, including the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award and The Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize. He finds that just 4.7 percent of historical awardees have been Asian and that in the last decade that number has declined to just 2.6 percent.

Get training in Lab Crisis Preparation and earn CEUs.One of over 25 IACET-accredited courses in the Academy.
Lab Crisis Preparation Course

He also analyzes an expanded set of over a dozen top prizes by race and gender and finds that only seven out of 883 awardees were Asian women, a “minuscule 0.8 percent.” The numbers are even lower for groups that are underrepresented in the research field—not one awardee for the eight long-running research prizes appears to be Black or Latinx.

Jan, who was born in China and raised in Taiwan, also shares his own experiences with racism as an Asian scientist in the commentary. He writes, “Combining the chronic under-appreciation with the recent rise in anti-Asian sentiment since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is increasingly challenging to be an Asian scientist in the United States.”

- This press release was provided by Cell Press