NSF Plan for Safe and Inclusive Working Environments for Off-Campus or Off-Site Research
Per NSF PAPPG 23-1, effective January 30, 2023, for each proposal that proposes to conduct research off-campus or off site, NSF requires that the Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) complete certification that the organization has a plan in place for that proposal (prior to submission) regarding Safe and Inclusive (SAI) Working Environments for Off-Campus and Off-Site Research.
The SAI Plan should describe how the following types of behavior will be addressed:
- 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.
NSF defines 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. The NSF definition for off-campus/off-site is not the same as the university’s determination of the off-campus F&A rate.
PLAN SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS
The SAI Plan is required for submission with the proposal for Biological Sciences (BIO) and Geosciences (GEO) Directorates as a pilot. The requirement to submit the SAI Plan in the Research.gov proposal can be found in the NSF solicitations for BIO and GEO Directorates. The Plan must be limited to two pages and uploaded in the Supplementary Documentation section in the Research.gov proposal. Additional details provided in the NSF Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding Preparation and Submission of Plans for Safe and Inclusive (SAI) Working Environments under the BIO/GEO Pilot.
NSF reviewers will be instructed to evaluate the Plan for Safe and Inclusive Work Environments within the Broader Impacts review criterion, specifically:
- Is there a compelling plan (including the procedures, trainings, and communication processes) to establish, nurture, and maintain inclusive off-campus or off-site working environment(s)?
- Does the proposed plan identify and adequately address the unique challenges for the team and the specific off-campus or off-site setting(s)?
- Are the organizational mechanisms to be used for reporting, responding to, and resolving issues of harassment, should they occur, clearly outlined?
OTHER NSF Directorates:
For other NSF Directorates, the SAI plan will not be submitted to NSF as part of the Research.gov proposal. The SAI Plan must be uploaded as a separate PDF attachment in myResearch and routed with the proposal for internal review and approval. This plan will be maintained with the internal proposal file.
GW Principal Investigators are responsible for:
- Determining if any portion of the proposal will be conducted “off-campus or off-site” using the NSF definition in PAPPG 23-1 . When applicable, the PI must check the box for Off-Campus or Off-Site Research in the NSF Proposal Cover Sheet.
- Completing the GW SAI Planning Tool with proposal specific information as required by NSF. This SAI Planning Tool can be used to upload the SAI Plan in Research.gov for submission, when applicable.
- Uploading the proposal-specific SAI Plan as part of the myResearch funding proposal as follows:
- For BIO and GEO Directorates, give careful attention to the solicitation instructions and as applicable, upload the SAI Plan in the Supplementary Documentation section of the Research.gov proposal for submission to NSF. The NSF page limitation is two (2) pages for SAI Plans that will be submitted in Research.gov. For BIO or GEO SAI Plans that will be submitted to NSF, direct costs to help offset necessary training costs associated with the SAI Plan may be entered into the proposal budget as allowable costs. Please note that re-submission of any updated SAI Plans may be required per NSF award guidelines.
- For other NSF Directorates, upload the Plan using “Add Attachments” as a separate PDF and label the document “NSF SAI Plan”.
- Disseminating the SAI Plan to individuals participating in the off-campus or off-site research, prior to departure, for those individuals engaging in off-campus or off-site research activities.
- Retaining documentation for off-campus/off-site individuals participating in the off-campus or off-site research who received the SAI Plan with the date and method(s) for dissemination.
NSF does not provide a template for the Plan to be developed. NSF expects the SAI Plan to consider development, communication, and dissemination to individuals participating in the off-campus or off-site research. The SAI Plan should include:
- steps the proposing organization will take to nurture an inclusive off-campus or off-site working environment such as trainings; processes to establish shared team definitions of roles, responsibilities, and culture, e.g. codes of conduct, and field support, such as mentor/mentee support mechanisms, regular check-ins, and/or development events;
- communications within team and to the organization, minimizing singular points within the communications pathway (e.g., a single person overseeing access to a single satellite phone), and any special circumstances such as the involvement of multiple organizations or the presence of third parties in the working environment; and
- process or method for making incident reports as well as a description of how any reports received will be resolved.
RESOURCES FOR PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS
To assist GW Principal Investigators in developing the SAI Plan, OSP has created a template for the Plan and Resource Guide with instructions, core GW policies, procedures and codes of conduct, FAQs, as well as the SAI Planning Tool to be completed by the PI with proposal-specific details.
- NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG 23-1)
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding Preparation and Submission of Plans for Safe and Inclusive (SAI) Working Environments under the BIO/GEO Pilot