Stopping Harassment and Assault

The U.S. National Science Foundation will not tolerate harassment or assault within the agency or at awardee organizations, field sites or anywhere science or education is conducted.

NSF is dedicated to holding people accountable for their actions and to working closely with the NSF Office of Inspector General and other law enforcement officials when appropriate.

What NSF is doing

NSF has taken, and continues to take, steps to help ensure all NSF-funded research and learning environments are free from sexual harassment and other forms of harassment.

Additionally, NSF continually bolsters its policies, guidelines and communications so that organizations clearly understand expectations and individuals understand their rights.

NSF's approach to combatting harassment and sexual assault is guided by the following:

  • NSF recognizes that to enable scientists, engineers and students to work at the outermost frontiers of knowledge, it must be a role model for teamwork, fairness and equity.

  • Investing in science, technology, engineering and education for the nation's future necessitates a safe environment, free of any form of harassment, that fosters equal opportunities.

  • NSF is committed to creating safe and inclusive research environments for all.

Prohibited behaviors and definitions

Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. It includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

Any non-consensual sexual act proscribed by federal, tribal or state law, including when the victim lacks capacity to consent.

Physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent.

Any harmful threat or act directed at an individual or group based on actual or perceived sex, gender, gender identity, sex characteristics or sexual orientation.

How to report harassment or assault

NSF’s Office of Equity and Civil Rights manages the following reporting options for victims of sexual assault and harassment throughout the NSF scientific enterprise:

NSF's Sexual Assault and Harassment Prevention and Response Office is the agency's central point of contact for reporting sexual assault and sexual harassment matters in the U.S. Antarctic Program.

Visit the office's webpage to learn how to report assault or harassment.

NSF's Awardee Civil Rights Compliance Program ensures that NSF awardee organizations comply with Title VI, Section 504, Title IX and the Age Discrimination Act.

Visit the program's webpage to report harassment or discrimination.

NSF's Equal Employment Opportunity Program ensures equal employment opportunity to all employees and applicants in all personnel/employment programs and management practices and decisions.

Visit the program's webpage to learn how to submit a complaint.

Requirements and guidance

Requirements for organizations supported by NSF

NSF's Award Term and Condition requires awardee organizations to report when findings of sexual harassment are made using the Organizational Notification of Harassment Form.

Guidance on NSF's Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

NSF's Equal Employment Opportunity website provides information on how the agency processes equal employment opportunity-based harassment and discrimination complaints for NSF employees and applicants.

Additional resources

For any questions, comments, suggestions or concerns regarding NSF’s work to combat sexual assault and harassment, please contact:

NSF's Sexual Assault and Harassment Prevention and Response (SAHPR) Office

Phone: (703) 292-4470

If you do not receive an acknowledgment within 48 hours, please follow up to ensure the SAHPR office has received your communication.

For media and press inquiries, please contact the NSF public affairs office at or (703) 292-8070.