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Policy

NSF Promotes More Workplace Flexibility

by David J. Hanson
October 3, 2011 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 89, ISSUE 40

At a White House ceremony last week, NSFannounced a new 10-year plan to provide greater work-related flexibility to women and men in research careers who receive grants from the agency. The NSF Career-Life Balance Initiative is an agencywide program designed to help postdoctoral fellows and early-career faculty members more easily care for dependents while continuing their careers. The family-friendly policies include allowing postponement or suspension of grants to care for newborn or newly adopted children and providing more opportunities for proposal reviewers to conduct virtual reviews—rather than making the reviewers travel to a central location—thus easing dependent-care needs. NSF also pledged to do more to encourage women to pursue careers in science and technology by seeking changes at universities such as getting universities to extend tenure deadlines when appropriate.

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