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Equity at NSF


The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) works to promote the progress of science and maintain our Nation's scientific leadership and global competitiveness. As such, NSF strives to encourage the full participation of all Americans in STEM and to remove barriers to their doing so.

As part of these efforts, NSF joined over 90 federal agencies to implement Executive Order (E.O) 13985, "Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government". This E.O. called for a "comprehensive approach for the Federal Government to transform itself — for fairness and equity to become not just ideals, but principles embedded in the daily practices by which Government serves its people."

The successful implementation of E.O. 13985 is a top priority for the Foundation. To meet the requirements of the E.O., Director Panchanathan established the Agency Equity Team (AET) to plan for and conduct equity work. The AET, comprised of a robust cohort of individuals from across the Foundation, met regularly over the past year to develop the agency's Equity Action Plan.

NSF's Equity Action Plan outlines five focus areas for the Foundation to:

  • address sexual and other forms of harassment,
  • optimize demographic data collection in support of equity assessments,
  • increase participation of disadvantaged entities, including Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), on Federal Acquisition Regulation-based solicitation and awards,
  • remove barriers to enhanced participation by indigenous and Native American communities, and;
  • enhance actions to establish and support the Civil Rights Program.

Additionally, the Foundation will host a series of listening sessions and roundtable discussions with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) to engage the scientific community on equity issues at all academic levels, including students, senior scientists and engineers, educators, and administrators.

NSF's Equity Action Plan will serve as a living document to ensure underrepresented and underserved communities have full and equal access to NSF resources and can successfully contribute to the scientific enterprise.


Read NSF's Equity Action Plan to learn about the agency's efforts to ensure an equitable experience for individuals in STEM.

RESOURCES Equity Microsite - Findings from the year-long equity process agencies have engaged in and executive summaries of the equity action plans submitted by the largest Federal agencies. Equity Microsite - find all agency equity action plans, links to agency equity pages, and other equity-related public documents.

To learn more about NSF's efforts to broaden participation and diversity in STEM, visit NSF's Broadening Participation Portfolio.