National Science Foundation Requirements on Sexual Harassment, Other Forms of Harassment, and Sexual Assault

Page Updated: Friday, June 18, 2021 11:24:25 AM CDT

Summary

On February 8, 2018, the National Science Foundation released Important Notice No. 144. The notice reminds the research community of its obligations to fully investigate complaints of sexual or other harassment and for complying with federal nondiscrimination law. After conducting a public comment on a proposed award term and condition, NSF released a new term and condition, Article X: Notification Requirements Regarding Sexual Harassment, Other Forms of Harassment, or Sexual Assault, on September 21, 2018. The term is effective for new awards and funding amendments to existing awards issued on or after October 22, 2018.

Institutional Requirements

  1. Maintain Harassment-Free Research Workplaces
    • Establish and maintain clear and unambiguous standards of behavior
    • Establish notification pathways for all personnel, including students, regardless of workplace location
    • Provide accessible and evident means for reporting violations, including reporting when personnel are engaged in conferences, workshops, field work, or other research facilities
    • Ensure institutional due diligence with timely investigations of allegations and corrective actions
  2. Reporting to NSF
    • UW-Madison must report to NSF if:
      1. It places a PI or Co-PI on administrative leave related to an investigation of an alleged violation or a finding/determination demonstrating a violation of awardee policies or codes of conduct, statutes, regulations, or executive orders relating to sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, or sexual assault.
      2. It imposes any administrative action on a PI or Co-PI related to an investigation of an alleged violation or a finding/determination demonstrating a violation of awardee policies or codes of conduct, statutes, regulations, or executive orders relating to sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, or sexual assault.
      3. It issues a finding/determination regarding a PI or Co-PI demonstrating a violation of awardee policies or codes of conduct, statutes, regulations, or executive orders relating to sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, or sexual assault.
    • UW-Madison must report as a direct recipient or as a subrecipient of an NSF award that includes the term.
    • UW-Madison must submit the report to NSF within ten (10) business days from the placement on administrative leave, imposition of administrative action, or the date of the finding/determination. The report submissions will be done by Research and Sponsored Programs based on information provided by the Office of Compliance or the Office of Human Resources.

Potential NSF Actions

After receiving and reviewing the information, NSF will consult with the institution and may:

  • Initiate the substitution of the PI or a Co-PI,
  • Reduce the award funding amount, or
  • Suspend or terminate the award.

NSF Considerations

  • Safety and security of personnel supported by the NSF award
  • Overall impact to NSF-funded activity
  • Continued advancement of taxpayer-funded investments in science and scientists
  • Whether the awardee has taken appropriate action(s) to ensure continuity of science and that continued progress can be made under funded project

Coverage

  • All grant personnel (PI, Co-PI roles trigger reporting requirement)
  • All locations where grant work is undertaken (including conferences, workshops, field sites, on- and off-campus research facilities, online)
  • The new term and condition will be applied to new NSF awards and funding amendments to existing awards made on or after October 22, 2018.

Implementation at UW-Madison

UW-Madison has established a process to adhere to the NSF notification requirements: UW-Madison Process Related to NSF Notification Requirements Regarding Sexual Harassment, Other Forms of Harassment, or Sexual Assault. Additionally, the following FAQs were created: Frequently Asked Questions about the UW-Madison Process Related to NSF Notification Requirements Regarding Sexual Harassment, Other Forms of Harassment, or Sexual Assault.

Links to UW-Madison Information that Supports NSF Policy

Other Links

Questions? Contact odinotifications@rsp.wisc.edu.