Dear Colleague Letter: Research on Sexual Harassment and Other Forms of Harassment in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Contexts


Please take a minute to read our most recent DCL on sexual harassment here or below.

“March 29, 2019

Dear Colleagues:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has publicly communicated its commitment to promoting safe, productive research and education environments for current and future scientists and engineers, including efforts to help reduce sexual harassment and other forms of harassment in STEM contexts.

Recently, to learn about the challenges related to sexual harassment in STEM settings, NSF and other organizations funded the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) to conduct a study on the prevalence and impact of sexual harassment in science and engineering departments and programs. The results of the study are available in the report, Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture and Consequences in Academic Science, Engineering, and Medicine. As the most comprehensive examination to date of sexual harassment in academic science, engineering, and medicine, the report brings together behavioral and social research on types of sexual harassment and prevalence, data on legal and policy mechanisms, and new approaches for changing the climate and culture in higher education to prevent and effectively respond to sexual harassment.

One of the NASEM report’s recommendations is to “conduct necessary research” (pp. 186-187) on a number of topics related to sexual harassment. This Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) is intended to highlight for the research community that NSF, as a primary federal funder of basic science and engineering research in the United States, continues to welcome and support competitive, peer-reviewed research that advances fundamental knowledge about the nature and underlying dynamics of sexual and other forms of harassment, and mechanisms for evaluating harassment prevalence, prevention, and responses, in a range of STEM education, research, and workplace settings.

A number of programs across the Foundation may be appropriate for proposals that have clear, theoretically-driven research orientations and advance generalizable knowledge about sexual or other forms of harassment in STEM contexts. Examples of potential research foci include: the nature and dynamics of harassment, including underlying social and behavioral processes; mechanisms for assessing and evaluating harassment prevalence, prevention, and responses across a range of organizational levels; and harassment dynamics with respect to ethics, diversity, and inclusivity in science. Additionally, NSF programs in any research area may elect to support basic research or conferences about sexual or other forms of harassment in a specific research field, group, or context. Proposals involving international collaboration, in which NSF supports the U.S. component of the collaborative activities, may also be considered.

To determine whether a research idea is within the scope of this DCL and appropriate for a particular program, prospective principal investigators are strongly encouraged to contact, prior to submitting proposals, the directorate/office Liaison(s) for Harassment Research most closely aligned with the research activities to be proposed. Proposals will be submitted to existing NSF funding opportunities and should follow the guidance and requirements of the relevant program(s) and the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG).

Liaisons for Harassment Research:

  • Biological Sciences (BIO): Leslie Rissler
  • Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE): Jeremy Epstein
  • Education & Human Resources (EHR): Jessie DeAro
  • Engineering (ENG): Paige Smith
  • Geosciences (GEO): Elizabeth Rom, Margaret Frasier
  • Mathematical & Physical Sciences (MPS): Tomasz Durakiewicz
  • Social Behavioral & Economic Sciences (SBE): Rebecca Ferrell
  • Office of Integrative Activities (OIA): Bernice Anderson, Jolaina Jeff-Cartier
  • Office of International Science & Engineering (OISE): Anne Emig

Sincerely,

Joanne S. Tornow, Assistant Director, BIO
Jim Kurose, Assistant Director, CISE
Karen Marrongelle, Assistant Director, EHR
Dawn M. Tilbury, Assistant Director, ENG
William E. Easterling, Assistant Director, GEO
Anne L. Kinney, Assistant Director, MPS
Arthur W. Lupia, Assistant Director, SBE
Rebecca L. Keiser, Office Head, OISE
C. Suzanne Iacono, Office Head, OIA”

New Email Validation System May Block NSF Email Communications


In a world of endless robocalls and mailing lists, we’re all  bombarded with more and more useless information. Unfortunately, some useful information from NSF might be going to your Spam folder.

Make sure the IT team at your college or university has @nsf.gov as an approved sender. This is especially important if you have your work emails forwarded to a different account (e.g., Gmail or Yahoo).

Be sure and check out this post from our Office of the Director for more information on the new email validation system.

Let’s work together to keep our lines of communication wide open. If you have any questions, please send us a note at debquestions@nsf.gov.

MacroSystems Biology and NEON-Enabled Science Webinar 2/6/19, 2:00 – 3:00 pm EST.


The MacroSystems Biology and NEON-Enabled Science (MSB-NES) program of the National Science Foundation will host an open-forum webinar with Program Directors this February 6, 2019, 2:00 – 3:00 pm EST. Instructions for joining the session can be found here.* The webinar will be recorded, and a public link will appear at this location.

The program solicitation (NSF 19-538) invites innovative proposals to detect, quantify, and forecast the consequences of changing climate, land-use, and invasive species for the biosphere at regional to continental scales (see DEBrief). The Macrosystems Biology program also invites proposals for Research Coordination Networks for driving convergent science with the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) (NSF 19-031). Proposals share the due date of February 25, 2019.

Please note: The due date for this solicitation was not impacted by the recent federal lapse in appropriations, and it is not expected to change if another lapse follows the end of the continuing resolution on February 15 2019. Fastlane, Grants.gov, and Research.gov are expected to be functional and open for proposal submission. Find more information here.

*UPDATE: If you missed the webinar, you can find the recording here.

 

Integration Institutes Request for Information Due March 1


From our friends at the Office of the Assistant Director, “The NSF Directorate for Biological Sciences has published a Dear Colleague Letter seeking ideas from the community on Integration Institutes for cross-cutting biology. These institutes would support collaborative teams of researchers to address questions that span multiple levels of organization in living systems and require expertise from diverse biological subdisciplines.

This is not a call for research proposals, but rather for high-level ideas about the types of questions and resources that would benefit from NSF investment in a truly integrated research environment.

The deadline for submissions is March 1. Please see the Dear Colleague Letter (NSF 19-027) for details on how to submit your ideas.”

DEB at the American Geophysical Union (AGU)


Several DEB Program Officers including, Elizabeth Blood, Dan Gruner, Kendra McLauchlan, and John Schade, will be attending the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in Washington, DC December 10-14. Representatives from the Ecosystem Science cluster and the Population and Community Ecology cluster will be on site and available for conversations. We are ready to talk about the latest NSF news and funding opportunities.

Our colleagues in the Directorate for Geosciences will have a booth, so feel free to stop by there, pick up DEB-relevant materials, and chat at any time.

We will be joining an outreach event called “Navigating NSF” from 9 am to noon on Wednesday, December 12 in the Marriott Marquis, 901 Massachusetts Ave. NW, in the Georgetown Room. The event is organized by the Earth Science Women’s Network and all are welcome to attend. There will be a short presentation, a discussion among Program Officers, and dedicated time for small group discussion. See you there!

DEB Supplements Reminder


It’s that time of year again when we remind our active grantees about the education and broadening participation supplements available to DEB awards.

We have recently updated our supplement descriptions. Additional details on the components to include in each type of supplement request and information on budgets can also be found on our supplements webpage.

Target Date:

Requests for this set of DEB supplements (RET, RAHSS, ROA, REU) should be submitted by the third Tuesday in January annually. This is a target date, requests beyond the target date will be considered only as budgets allow. Supplement requests must be submitted through FastLane.

Supplement Types:

  • Research Experiences for Teachers (RET)
  • Research Assistantships for High School Students (RAHSS)
  • Research Opportunity Awards (ROA)
  • Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)

Other types of supplement requests should be discussed with your program officer. If you have any additional questions, please contact the relevant DEB Program (check the DEB staff listings on the NSF website).

Eligibility:

Supplements are only available to PIs and co-PIs with active DEB awards. Please note that some of the special programs accept supplement requests, and others do not. If your program is not listed here, and/or if you have questions about supplement eligibility for your current award, please contact your cognizant Program Officer.

Program RET RAHSS ROA REU
Core DEB Y Y Y Y
EEID Y Y Y Y
Dimensions of Biodiversity N N N N
Genealogy of Life Y Y Y Y
CNH N N N N

Before submitting a supplement request, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • no supplements can be awarded if there are any overdue project reports associated with anyone on the award including co-PIs and all members of a collaborative project
  • supplemental funds must be expended by the expiration date of the original award
  • the IRB/IACUC documentation must be up-to-date and include the time frame of the supplement
  • if the award budget already included Participant Support funds to support students or teachers, you must clearly explain the extenuating circumstances leading to the request for more such funding
  • as budgets allow, DEB typically provides funds for one REU student per year, but will consider supporting two REU students if the PI can demonstrate a unique opportunity for broadening participation from traditionally underrepresented groups in the biological sciences.

Special BIO Advisory Committee Meeting to be held 11/16


From our friends over at the BIO OAD Blog, “The BIO advisory committee will hold a special meeting on Friday, November 16th from 2:30-4:30 PM to discuss immediately establishing a subcommittee to consider different options for addressing community concerns with the BIO proposal submission limits.

This meeting will be held via teleconference among the Advisory Committee members. Public visitors will be able to attend the meeting in person at NSF headquarters; please contact Alexis Patullo at apatullo@nsf.gov to request a visitor badge.

For more information on this meeting, please visit the NSF BIO Advisory Committee page.”