CISE Announce: NSF postings, policies and actions on sexual harassment


April 26, 2018

The message below was sent to the CISE Announce Listserv on Thursday, March 8, 2018.

Dear CISE Colleagues,
 
We want to bring to your attention steps that the National Science Foundation (NSF) is taking regarding an important topic for all of us in the research community: sexual harassment.
 
On February 8, NSF issued Important Notice No. 144 to Presidents of Universities and Colleges and Heads of Other National Science Foundation Grantee Organizations, which stated, in part:

“As the primary funding agency of fundamental science and engineering research in the United States, NSF is committed to promoting safe, productive research and education environments for current and future scientists and engineers. We consider the Principal Investigator (PI) and any co-PI(s) identified on an NSF award to be in positions of trust. The PI and co-PI and all grant personnel must comport themselves in a responsible and accountable manner, including during the performance of award activities conducted outside the organization, such as at field sites or facilities, or during conferences and workshops.”

The Notice announced steps toward new award requirements that will require grantee organizations to report findings of sexual harassment, or any other kind of harassment, regarding a PI, co/PI, or any other grant personnel.  These steps are coupled with the expectation that all awardee organizations establish and maintain clear and unambiguous standards of behavior to ensure harassment-free research workplaces, along with reporting pathways for all personnel, including students.  The full Notice can be found here: https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/issuances/in144.jsp.
 
NSF also published a more-detailed request for public comment (the comment period ends May 4) on these new award requirements to the Federal Register (where the U.S. Government officially provides legal notice of administrative rules and notices, and where Federal agencies are required to publish notices of proposed rulemaking).  The  Federal Register notice is available at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/03/05/2018-04374/reporting-requirements-regarding-findings-of-sexual-harassment-other-forms-of-harassment-or-sexual.
 
Finally, we also want to note that NSF has established a new, dedicated website, https://www.nsf.gov/harassment/, to consolidate policies and procedures, promising practices, and frequently asked questions relating to sexual and other forms of harassment.  The intent is to make it easier for the research community and the public to access this information.  This website will continue to be updated, adding content related to ending harassment.
 
We hope the CISE community will take the opportunity to become familiar with the important issues raised in the Notice and Federal Register posting.  As NSF Director Dr. France Córdova stated in the Notice, “A community effort is essential to eliminate sexual and other harassment in science and to build scientific workspaces where people can learn, grow, and thrive.”  We hope you’ll join us in helping to achieve this goal.
 
Best,
 
Jim and Erwin
 
Jim Kurose, Assistant Director (AD) of NSF for CISE
Erwin Gianchandani, Deputy AD of NSF for CISE
 
 
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The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2020 budget of $8.3 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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