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Press Statement 18-006

Statement on National Academies sexual harassment study

NSF-funded report outlines climate, culture and consequences in academic sciences, engineering and medicine

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NSF is committed to doing our part in preventing harassment and improving accountability.

June 12, 2018

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

In September 2016, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Integrative Activities funded the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to conduct a study on the prevalence and impact of sexual harassment in science, engineering and medical departments and programs. The results of that study are now publicly available in a new report, Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. NSF Director France Córdova issued the following statement:

To fix a problem, we first must understand it. That's why, nearly two years ago, the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded the most comprehensive examination to date of sexual harassment in academic sciences, engineering and medicine. Eliminating sexual harassment in research is an NSF priority, as each occurrence diminishes people, damages careers and weakens the integrity of the entire scientific enterprise. Sexual harassment negatively impacts diversity and inclusion, discouraging prospective participants in science. A safe environment, on the other hand, allows everyone to thrive and excel.

The new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine brings together -- for the first time -- behavioral research on types of sexual harassment and their prevalence, data on legal and policy mechanisms, and new approaches for changing the climate and culture in higher education. Meaningful, systemic change in STEM fields is the goal. The report outlines both the significant opportunities and challenges ahead.

At all levels of NSF, we are committed to doing our part in preventing harassment and improving accountability by proposing new award term and condition requirements. As a major funder of this report, NSF emphasizes its commitment to a more inclusive STEM culture and climate -- one free of harassment.


Media Contacts
Sarah Bates, NSF, (703) 292-7738, email:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2020, its budget is $8.3 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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