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Comment: YDUN lowered the level of competition

Hans Bonde responds in the debate over the YDUN programme for women researchers: Women felt encouraged to apply because they knew that practically no men would

Hjorth and Watson continue to argue against the assertion made by me and Jens Ravnkilde that if the YDUN money had been open to men, the competition would have been greater.

If we look at the numbers in isolation, it is true that there were many more applications for an YDUN grant than for ordinary DFF grants and that therefore, in purely numerical terms, the applicants who were awarded YDUN grants overcame stronger than usual competition. However, it does not follow, as Hjorth and Watson seem to suggest, that the successful YDUN applicants were of a quality superior to those awarded an ordinary DFF grant.

The increase in the number of applications was due solely to the fact that women in large numbers felt encouraged to apply because they knew that practically no men would. Consequently, there are no grounds for arguing that in applying for an YDUN grant a female researcher faced stronger competition than she would have, if the contest had been open to both genders.

It is only common sense to assume that there was less research talent to be found among the hundreds of women who only applied because they knew that their chances had drastically improved the moment men were left out, compared to the talent found among the hundreds of men who failed to apply because they predicted, correctly as it turned out, that they would get nothing, however talented.

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