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NSF Safe Inclusive Working Environments (SIWE) for Off-Campus and Off-Site Research

NSF Proposals Must Certify Safe and Inclusive Working Environment (SIWE)

The National Science Foundation (NSF) requires proposers to certify that they have a plan for creating and maintaining Safe and Inclusive Working Environment(s) for projects that include off-campus or off-site research.

National Science Foundation (NSF)NSF recognizes that a community effort is essential to eliminate sexual and other forms of harassment in science and to build inclusive scientific climates where people can learn, grow, and thrive. U-M’s Standard Practice Guide (SPG) supports these goals. 

Use this U-M Template for NSF Plan

ORSP has developed a Safe and Inclusive Work Environments Plan template for such projects.

  • For NSF BIO and GEO Directorates: Several solicitations from BIO and GEO now require the submission of this plan (using the template above), which will be considered as part of the Broader Impacts criteria during the review process. 
  • For other NSF Directorates: The PI and project team need not submit the plan to NSF for review in the proposal, but they must create the plan (using the template above).

What the Plan Should Address

For all NSF proposals that include off-site or off-campus research, the administrative home (school/college/institute/center) must attest there is a plan in place for that proposal. The plan must describe how the following types of behavior will be addressed: 

  1. 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
  2. Conduct that is unwelcome, offensive, indecent, obscene, or disorderly; 

For items 1 and 2 we recommend you reference the U-M SPG on Discrimination and Harassment (SPG 201.89-1) and Safety, Health and Environmental Policy (SPG 605.01).

The plan must also:

  1. Identify steps the proposing principal investigator(s)/project team will take to nurture an inclusive off-campus or off-site working environment;
  2. Consider 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);
  3. Address how any special circumstances such as the involvement of multiple organizations or the presence of third parties in the working environment should be taken into account;
  4. Account for the process or method for making incident reports as well as how any reports received will be resolved.

eResearch Proposal Management (eRPM) help related to NSF Policy

  • When “Off-Campus Research” is used for PAF question 1.8 Proposal Type/Class Code, new system validation requires that PAF question 4.4 Will U-M employees be working off U-M property? must be answered “Yes.”
    • If 4.4 is answered “Yes”, then additional instructional text will appear below question 4.4.1 Identify location(s), reminding project teams to have a documented Safe and Inclusive Working Environment plan.
  • New attestation text for Unit Approvers (Administrative Home Department Approvers) to sign off that a plan has been prepared and will be disseminated if awarded.

We'll maintain updates on this topic on this page and in forthcoming issues of The RAP.