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NSF Safe and Inclusive Working Environments


NSF Safe and Inclusive Working Environments Plan for Off-Campus or Off-Site Research (Jan 2023)

Effective January 30, 2023, the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) was updated to incorporate Safe and Inclusive Working Environments for Off-Campus or Off-Site Research  language (Chapter II.E.9) which describes the new requirement for the Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) to certify that Johns Hopkins University has a plan in place for safe and inclusive research for any proposal that proposes to conduct off-campus or off-site research.


Off-campus and Off-site research is defined by NSF as “data/information/samples being collected off-campus or off-site, such as fieldwork or research activities on vessels and aircraft”

The Plan

For each proposal that proposes to conduct research off-campus or off-site, JHU must certify that it has a plan in place that describes how the following types of behavior will be addressed:

  1. 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
  2. Conduct that is unwelcome, offensive, indecent, obscene, or disorderly.

The NSF requires that the plan address the following four sections (maximum 2 pages):

  1. A brief description of the field setting and unique challenges for the team;
  2. The steps the proposing organization will take to nurture an inclusive off-campus or off-site working environment, including processes to establish shared team definitions of roles, responsibilities, and culture, e.g., codes of conduct, trainings, mentor/mentee mechanisms and field support that might include regular check-ins, and/or developmental events;
  3. Communication processes within the off-site team and to the organization(s) that minimize singular points within the communication pathway (e.g., there should not be a single person overseeing access to a single satellite phone); and
  4. The organizational mechanisms that will be used for reporting, responding to, and resolving issues of harassment if they arise.

The development and distribution of the plan is the responsibility of the award PI. The Plan must be distributed to each participant—in advance of departure for off-campus or off-site research activity.

Plans in Proposals to BIO and GEO

Beginning in March 2023, several solicitations from BIO and GEO require the submission of a Safe and Inclusive Working Environments Plan for research proposals (vs. education/ training) that will be considered as part of the Broader Impacts criteria during the review process.

Additional Directorates are also expected to include this requirement in throughout 2023, details can be found here.

Policies & Resources

NSF: It is NSF’s policy to foster safe and harassment-free environments wherever science is conducted.  NSF’s policy recognizes that a community effort is essential to eliminate sexual and other forms of harassment in science and to build inclusive scientific climates where people can learn, grow, and thrive.

JHU:  JHU is committed to complying with all applicable state and federal laws.  More information about JHU’s anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies are available here.

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Email: jhura@jhu.eduSend an email to jhura@jhu.edu

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