NSF Policy on Safe and Inclusive Working Environments

NSF has implemented a new policy (see Chapter XI.A.1.g. of PAPPG 23-1) to foster safe and harassment-free environments wherever science is conducted. This policy is effective for proposals with off-campus or off-site work due on or after January 30, 2023, and requires proposers to certify that they have a plan in place for creating and maintaining a Safe and Inclusive Working Environment for Off-Campus and Off-Site Research for that project.

For any off-site or field work on a proposed NSF project, the AOR must certify that the Principal Investigator (PI) and Project team have established a plan that:

  1. Addresses the following types of behavior:
    • Abuse of any person, including, but not limited to, harassment, stalking, bullying, or hazing of any kind, whether the behavior is carried out verbally, physically, electronically, or in written form; or
    • Conduct that is unwelcome, offensive, indecent, obscene, or disorderly.
  2. Identifies steps the proposing PI/Project team will take to nurture an inclusive off-campus or off-site work environment.

This plan should not be submitted to NSF for review with the proposal (unless directed by the Solicitation) but it must be documented prior to submission and uploaded into the PennERA record (under the Internal Documents Tab). If changes are made to this plan, an updated version must be submitted to ORS for upload to the PennERA record.

The PI is responsible for ensuring that any individuals working on the project in an off-site or off-campus location receive a copy of the plan prior to commencement of their work at that location.

For the purposes of this requirement, NSF has defined off-campus or off-site research as data/information/samples being collected off-campus or off-site, such as fieldwork and research activities on vessels and aircraft.

Related Penn policies can be found here: https://www.upenn.edu/life-at-penn/diversity. Penn’s 215-P-COMPLY resource (https://oacp.upenn.edu/) may be used to report suspected misconduct or noncompliance.

If instances of noncompliance with the Safe and Inclusive Working Environments requirements are identified, the AVP will be responsible for making appropriate notification to NSF.

A fillable template plan is available here.