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Marc Lerchenmüller

Assistant Professor for Technological Innovation and Management Science at the University of Mannheim, Germany.

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About Me

I am an Assistant Professor of Technological Innovation and Management Science at the University of Mannheim, Germany.


My research pertains to the economics of innovation, particularly how incentives spur scientific knowledge creation and ultimately application to advance our societies. Relatedly, I examine frictions in this creation-application process, especially with respect to the gender gap in science. In pursuing these questions, I draw on my training in economics (Imperial College, Oxford and WHU) as well as public health (Yale and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine). I am grateful to work in international collaborations on these questions and I am indebted to my coauthors for finding answers.


Prior to my academic career, I worked for the Boston Consulting Group in New York. I was also a co-founder of a biotechnology start-up that was sold in 2014 to uniQure and then entered into a development alliance with Bristol Myers SquibbDuring my academic career, I served on an expertpanel for the European Commission in 2023, examining the impact of COVID on science. Currently, with AaviGen, I am pursuing a second start-up in the gene therapy space.

About Me

(selected, 2018-2021)

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Longitudinal analyses of gender differences in first authorship publications related to COVID-19

Marc J. Lerchenmüller, Carolin Lerchenmüller, Leo Schmallenbach,  Anupam B. Jena

In our latest longitudinal study my co-authors, Dr. Carolin Lerchenmueller, Leo Schmallenbach, Prof. Dr. Anupam B. Jena and me found that women first authors have been under-represented in COVID-19-related research particularly at the beginning of the pandemic.

The reduction in women’s COVID-19-related research output appears particularly concerning as many disciplines informing the response to the pandemic had near equal gender shares of first authorship in the year prior to the pandemic. This is a global phenomenon with almost every geographical area affected. Even though our analysis leads us to be cautiously optimistic that the reduced women’s COVID-19 research activity might have been temporary, we worry that the absence of many expert women voices during the initial response to the pandemic impacted individuals and society! The acute productivity drain magnifies deep-rooted obstacles on the way to gender equity in scientific contribution.”

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Marc J. Lerchenmüller, Olav Sorenson,

Anupam B. Jena

Gender Differences in How Scientists Present the Importance of their Research

Objective:  Women remain underrepresented on faculties of medicine and the life sciences more broadly. Whether gender differences in self presentation of clinical research exist and may contribute to this gender gap has been challenging to explore empirically. The objective of this study was to analyze whether men and women differ in how positively they frame their research findings and to analyze whether the positive framing of research is associated with higher downstream citations.

Conclusions: Clinical articles involving a male first or last author were more likely to present research findings positively in titles and abstracts compared with articles in which both the first and last author were women, particularly in the highest impact journals. Positive presentation of research findings was associated with higher downstream citations.

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How Women Undersell Their Work

Marc J. Lerchenmüller, Olav Sorenson,

Anupam B. Jena

Many factors contribute to the gender disparities in academia. Productivity differences, however, cannot account for them. Instead, research suggests that women receive less recognition than men for equivalent accomplishments. Just why they receive less attention has been an open question. Our study examined whether women and men differ in the degree to which they promote – or spin – their accomplishments by using positive terms like “novel,” “unique,” or “unprecedented” when describing their research. We document that women use fewer of these positive adjectives in research articles, particularly at earlier career stages. These differences in presentation, in turn, appear to influence the amount of attention that their articles receive.

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The Gender Gap in Early Career Transitions in the Life Sciences

Marc J. Lerchenmüller,

Olav Sorenson

We examined the extent to which and why early career transitions have led to women being underrepresented among faculty in the life sciences. We followed the careers of 6,336 scientists from the post-doctoral fellowship stage to becoming a principal investigator (PI) – a critical transition in the academic life sciences. Using a unique dataset that connects individuals’ National Institutes of Health funding histories to their publication records, we found that a large portion of the overall gender gap in the life sciences emerges at this transition. Women become PIs at a 20% lower rate than men. Differences in “productivity” (publication records) can explain about 60% of this differential. The remaining portion appears to stem from gender differences in the returns to similar publication records, with women receiving less credit for their citations.


Long-Term Analysis of Sex Differences in Prestigious Authorships in Cardiovascular Research Supported by the National Institutes of Health

Marc J. Lerchenmüller,

Carolin Lerchenmüller

Olav Sorenson

Women remain underrepresented on life science faculties in general, and on cardiovascular research faculties in particular. Whether differences in prestigious authorships contribute to this gender gap remains unclear. We analyzed 63,636 authorships on NIH-R01-supported articles across 107 cardiovascular journals indexed in PubMed to estimate the relative risk (RR) of first and last authorship for women relative to men. We analyzed how the RR varied over 30 years, focusing on studies in cardiovascular research, but we also extended our analysis to 2,699,061 authorships on R01-supported articles across 3,849 journals indexed in PubMed and sub-analyzed the RR for journals of different impact. In cardiology, women’s likelihood of first authorship improved from being about 20% less likely to being 5% more likely to earn first authorships relative to men. Meanwhile, women remained about 50% less likely to earn last authorships. Across the life sciences, women have come to earn first authorships up to a 20% higher rate than men, while the likelihood of last authorship remained low, similar to cardiovascular research.

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Marc J. Lerchenmüller,

Olav Sorenson

Junior Female Scientists Aren’t Getting the Credit They Deserve

Women earn about half of life science doctorates, but only about 20% of them land full professorships and a mere 15% serve as department chairs at medical schools. Two studies explored women’s early career advancement by looking at gender differences in publications and research funding. Both studies suggest that women face real barriers to advancing in the life sciences, and these are apparent early on in their careers.



European Commission Expert Panel: Impact of COVID-19 on Science


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Research Application

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