Thursday, April 25, 2013

So cool - NSF has a program to provide supplemental funds when CAREER PIs go on family leave

Just got pointed to this by Siobhan Brady from UC Davis:

US NSF - Dear Colleague Letter: FY 2013 Career-Life Balance (CLB)-Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Supplemental Funding Requests (nsf13075)

It is an NSF program to
"The purpose of this DCL is to announce the continuation of the supplemental funding opportunity initiated in FY 2012 for PIs supported in the CAREER program. CAREER Principal Investigators (PIs) are invited to submit supplemental funding requests to support additional personnel (e.g., research technicians or equivalent) to sustain research when the PI is on family leave. These requests may include funding for up to 3 months of salary support, for a maximum of $12,000 in salary compensation. The fringe benefits and associated indirect costs may be in addition to the salary payment and therefore, the total supplemental funding request may exceed $12,000."
This is part of a larger program on Career-Life Balance:
Instituted in 2012, NSF’s Career-Life Balance (CLB) Initiative is an ambitious, ten-year initiative that will build on the best of family-friendly practices among individual NSF programs to expand them to activities NSF-wide.  This agency-level approach will help attract, retain, and advance graduate students, postdoctoral students, and early-career researchers in STEM fields.  This effort will help reduce the rate at which women depart from the STEM workforce.  By the end of this ten-year initiative (2021), it is expected that women will represent 41 percent of newly tenured doctoral S&E faculty—the same percentage as the available pool of women S&E doctorate recipients in 2009; and that women of color will comprise 17 percent of newly tenured faculty, the same percentage of their PhD production rate in 2009.  Further information on the CLB initiative may be found on the Foundation’s website.  
The primary emphasis of NSF’s CLB initiative in FY 2012 was focused on opportunities such as dependent-care issues (child birth/adoption and elder care).  These issues initially were addressed through NSF’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program, where career-life balance opportunities can help retain a significant fraction of early career STEM talent.  In FY 2013, the Foundation intends to further integrate CLB opportunities through other programs such as the Graduate Research Fellowship and postdoctoral fellowship programs, as well as expand opportunities such as dual career-hiring through the Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers (ADVANCE) program.  Each of these opportunities will be described and implemented separately.
I am involved in the UC Davis ADVANCE program (minor advisory role) and am always on the lookout for ways that institutions and fundings agencies try to increase representation of women and minorities in STEM fields so if you know of other examples - please post details.


  1. New policy this year at U. Michigan:
    Dear Chairs and Directors,

    As you know, we have been working for several months on a new policy that will reduce at least some of the barriers that tenure-track faculty with young children face when they need to travel to research conferences. With input from Chairs and Directors and from Key Administrators, we have refined the policy details. Effective immediately, the LSA policy is as summarized below (see also the attached reimbursement request form). Please share this with your faculty.


    The demands of parenting young children under the age of six present special challenges to faculty who need to participate in academic conferences or other academic events as part of their scholarly research activity. Through its family friendly policies, the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts strongly supports tenure-track faculty in the College who are working to balance family and scholarly research obligations. In an effort to provide resources to those who are caring for young children so that they may attend important conferences or other events requiring travel, the College of LSA will provide financial support up to a maximum dollar amount of $1,000 per fiscal year for approved travel expenses for children under the age of six. Please note that the IRS considers this taxable income.

  2. Quite awesomely, the NSF even offers 3 months of paid family leave for grad students on GRFP fellowships who are new parents.