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The National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science; advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense. NSF is the only federal agency whose mission includes support for all fields of fundamental science and engineering, except for medical sciences.

Off-Campus or Off-Site Research

New or renewal proposals to NSF submitted January 30, 2023 or later that are funded will require that Principal Investigators (PI) take an additional step to safeguard participants when engaging in off-campus research activities. Specifically, the PI must create a plan for a safe and inclusive work environment and distribute that plan to each participant in advance of departure for an off-campus research activity.

For the purpose of this requirement, NSF defines “off-campus or off-site research” as “data/information/ samples being collected off-campus or off-site, such as fieldwork on research vessels and aircraft.”

PI Certification - For any offsite or field work on a proposed NSF project, the PI must attest there is a plan in place for that proposal. This plan must address:

  1. How 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 will be handled;
  2. Steps for preventing and reporting conduct that is unwelcome, offensive, indecent, obscene, or disorderly; 
  3. Steps the principal investigator(s)/project team will take to nurture an inclusive off-campus or off-site working environment;
  4. How communications within the team and to the organization will be handled, minimizing singular points within the communications pathway (e.g., a single person overseeing access to a single satellite phone);
  5. How any special circumstances such as the involvement of multiple organizations or the presence of third parties in the working environment should be considered;
  6. A process or method for making incident reports as well as how any reports received will be resolved.

       PI checklist for Safe and Inclusive Environment

NSF Templates and Other Resources: